• Adrenocorticotropin;
  • cortisol;
  • growth hormone;
  • modified L-dopa-test;
  • pituitary hormone stimulation

In 59 otherwise healthy children of short stature, the simultaneous response of growth hormone, cortisol and plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) to L-dopa/L-carbidopa and propranolol at 45 and 90min after administration were investigated. A growth hormone response of 10 μg/l or higher was considered positive. The definition of a positive cortisol response included either a hormone increase of at least 193 nmol/l or a peak hormone level of at least 497 nmol/l. The ACTH increase had to be fourfold above 11 pmol/l to be considered positive. In the 59 investigated children, the median basal growth hormone levels increased from 1.35 p.g/l to 18.05 ug/l and 10.15 p.g/l at 45 and 90 min after stimulation (p <0.05). The median cortisol levels rose from 242 nmol/l to 439 nmol/l and 612 pmol/l, and the corresponding median ACTH levels from 2.94 pmol/l to 9.63 pmol/l and 11.13 pmol/l at 45 and 90 min after stimulation. Significant positive hormone response rates were 88.1% for growth hormone, 88.1% for cortisol and 69% for ACTH. These results could be attributed to the enhanced stimulating effect of the additional administration of L-carbidopa and propranolol.

We conclude that the administration of L-dopa/L-carbidopa and propranolol is useful for the simultaneous evaluation of growth hormone, cortisol and ACTH secretion in children of short stature.