Human pancreatic GH-releasing factor (hpGRF) increased the concentrations of plasma GH when infused i.v. into immature ducks. A dose-dependent increase in plasma GH was observed within 10 min of the start of infusion and was maintained during the 30-min infusion period. Simultaneous infusion of somatostatin S-14 prevented the increase in plasma GH induced by hpGRF, but when the infusion had finished there was a rebound increase in plasma GH. Infusion of the highest dose of hpGRF (800 ng/kg per min) in adult ducks had no significant effect on plasma GH.
Plasma somatostatin concentrations were reduced during the infusion of hpGRF in young but not in adult ducks. This observation suggests that the stimulatory effect of hpGRF on GH secretion may be partly due to its inhibitory effect on somatostatin secretion. Infusion of hpGRF in ducklings also increased the concentrations of glucagon and decreased levels of insulin in the plasma. Peripheral plasma glucagon and insulin levels in adult ducks were unaffected by hpGRF infusion. These results indicate that in ducklings, hpGRF increases plasma GH and glucagon concentrations and lowers plasma somatostatin and insulin levels. In the adult, these hormonal responses to hpGRF are not maintained. The highly stimulatory effect of hpGRF on GH secretion in ducklings may explain why plasma GH concentrations are high in these birds.