The time course of plasma growth hormone (hGH) levels following sc and im injection of hGH was studied in 12 children with growth hormone deficiency who had received long-term treatment with im injections of highly purified hGH. Also the spontaneous diurnal GH levels in 8 normal children of comparable age were recorded.
Blood samples were obtained during 24 h after im and sc injections of 4 IU/m2 hGH and analysed for immunoreactive hGH. While a median peak value of 160 ng/ml (range 135 to 475 ng/ml) was obtained 2 h after im injection, sc injection resulted in a more sustained elevation reaching 41 ng/ml (range 32 to 51 ng/ml) at 6 h subsiding slowly with a median concentration of 15 ng/ml (range 5–24 ng/ml) persisting after 14 h.
Gel chromatography demonstrated that the hGH immunoreactivity of blood samples obtained as late as 14 h after sc injection had unaltered molecular size.
Seven of the patients were further studied after sc injection of 2 IU/m2 at 20.00 h instead of in the morning. A plasma profile was attained during the night which roughly approximated the average nocturnal plasma pattern of the normal children.