Growth hormone in mares and stallions: pulsatile secretion, response to growth hormone-releasing hormone, and effects of exercise, sexual stimulation, and pharmacological agents.

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Short-term patterns of growth hormone (GH) secretion and factors affecting it were studied in mares and stallions. In Exp. 1, hourly blood samples were collected from three mares and three stallions in summer and winter. Although GH concentrations varied in a pulsatile manner in all horses, there was no effect of sex or season (P greater than .1) on plasma GH concentrations and no indication of a diurnal pattern of GH secretion. In Exp. 2, 10-min blood samples were drawn for 8 h from 12 mares; after 6 h, porcine GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) was administered i.v. at 0, 45, 90, or 180 micrograms/mare (three mares per dose). Pulsatile secretion of GH occurred in all mares and averaged 2.4 +/- .3 peaks/6 h; amplitudes were variable and ranged from 2.6 to 74.4 ng/mL. Eight of nine mares responded within 20 min to GHRH injection, but there was no difference (P greater than .1) among the three doses tested. In Exp. 3, plasma GH concentrations in stallions increased (P less than .05) 8- to 10-fold after 5 min of acute physical exercise or exposure to an estrual mare. Restraint via a twitch (5 min) and epinephrine administration (3 mg i.v.) also increased (P less than .05) plasma GH concentrations by approximately fourfold. In Exp. 4 and 5, administration of either .4, 2, or 10 mg of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) or 100 or 500 mg of sulpiride (a dopamine receptor antagonist) increased (P less than .01) plasma prolactin concentrations but had no effect (P greater than .1) on GH concentrations during the same period of time.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Journal of animal science

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