Sex differences in the ultradian pattern of plasma growth hormone concentrations in mice


    Ultradian patterns of plasma GH concentration were determined in adult male and female mice. Serial blood samples were collected every 15 min over 8 h through surgically placed chronic indwelling right atrial catheters and assayed for GH content by an homologous radioimmunoassay. In both sexes, GH concentrations fluctuated episodically from baseline values that were often in the range of 2 μg/l which approached the limit of assay sensitivity, to peak values sometimes reaching 100 μg/l. Male mice, however, demonstrated a regular periodicity of GH peaks approximately every 2·5 h with interposed stable baseline concentrations that were significantly longer in duration than in females. The absence of extended baseline concentrations in females reduced cycle length to an average of 1·4 h and significantly increased the overall mean GH concentration. The duration, height and area of GH peaks and the average concentration between peaks were comparable in males and females. Sexual dimorphism in the ultradian patterns of serum GH concentrations have been shown in both mice and rats to regulate the expression of several sex-specific phenotypes. Comparing endogenous GH patterns in mice and rats demonstrates that males of both species have less frequent peaks than females over the same interval of time. This separation of GH peaks appears to be an essential element for the expression of masculine GH-dependent traits.

    Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 131, 395–399

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