Growth hormone (GH) improves growth performance in the pig. Analogues of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) that bind poorly to IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) stimulate growth in the rat but, in contrast, inhibit growth in the pig. This study was designed to determine the effect of IGF peptides alone or in combination with porcine GH (pGH) on growth characteristics and plasma hormone concentrations in finisher pigs. A four-day infusion of Long [R3] IGF-I (LR3IGF-I; 180 micrograms/kg/day) decreased the average daily gain, food intake, and plasma IGFBP-3, IGF-I and insulin concentrations. The mean plasma GH concentration was decreased by 23% and the area under the GH peaks was reduced by 60%. Co-administration of pGH (30 micrograms/kg/day) with LR3IGF-I had no interactive effect on growth performance, and plasma insulin, IGFBP-3 and IGF-I concentrations remained suppressed. The area under the GH peaks was not restored with this combination treatment although mean plasma GH concentrations were elevated in all animals receiving pGH. Infusion of IGF-I (180 micrograms/kg/day) decreased plasma insulin and mean GH concentrations but had no significant effect on IGFBP-3 concentrations. Average daily gain and feed intake were not changed by IGF-I treatment. A combination of IGF-I and pGH injection (30 micrograms/kg/day) increased plasma IGFBP-3 concentrations but plasma insulin levels remained suppressed. Plasma glucose levels were unaffected by any treatment. The study demonstrates that both IGF-I and LR3IGF-I suppress plasma GH concentrations in finisher pigs. This, in turn, may be responsible for the reduction in the plasma concentration of IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and insulin seen in LR3IGF-I-treated animals. The decrease in these parameters may contribute to the inhibitory effect of LR3IGF-I on growth performance in the pig.