• We studied the response of 14 normal volunteers and five septic patients to a 48-hour course of exogenous biosynthetic human growth hormone (hGH) or placebo. Six normal controls (group 1) received saline, eight normal controls received hGH (group 2), and five septic patients also received biosynthetic hGH (group 3). Urinary urea excretion declined, and splanchnic amino acid uptake was maintained only in group 2 subjects. Septic patients exhibited changes in amino acid and urea dynamics comparable to those of subjects receiving placebo. Insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1) production and plasma concentrations increased in group 2 in a fashion corresponding to the changes in nitrogen exchange, whereas septic patients exhibited no change in IGF-1 level. Therefore, in this septic patient group, exogenous hGH was ineffective in attenuating nitrogen losses and stimulating IGF-1 production. This supports the hypothesis that IGF-1 is a mediator of the anabolic effect of hGH.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:1409-1414)