European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 300–303 | Cite as

Effect of human chorionic gonadotropin on growth velocity and biological growth parameters in adolescents with thalassaemia major

  • M. Bozzola
  • J. Argente
  • M. Cisternino
  • A. Moretta
  • A. Valtorta
  • I. Biscaldi
  • M. Donnadieu
  • D. Evain-Brion
  • F. Severi


The effect of long-term human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) therapy on the linear growth and biological growth parameters was studied in six thalassaemic boys aged 14.5–15.5 years old with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. A significant (P<0.001) increase in growth velocity (from 3.3±0.3 to 7.6±0.6 cm/year) was found after 6–12 months of therapy, without acceleration of bone age. A striking improvement in pubertal development was observed. The treatment significantly increased growth hormone (GH) response to l-dopa administration (P<0.025) as well as sleep GH secretion (P<0.025). Serum growth factors, evaluated as thymidine activity during deep sleep, increased (P<0.001), but somatomedin C (Sm-C) levels did not. Prior to treatment, baseline and peak values of plasma growth hormone releasing hormone (GH-RH) following l-dopa were low. After HCG therapy, GH-RH response to l-dopa increased significantly (from 9.2±5.6 to 20.2±6.2 pg/ml; P<0.05), but remained (P<0.001) lower than in normal prepubertal children. This study suggests that in thalassaemia major an impaired GH-RH release can be observed, in addition to the described alteration in Sm-C generation.

Key words

Human chorionic gonadotropin Thalassaemia major Growth velocity 



luteinising hormone


follicle stimulating hormone


human chorionic gonadotropin


growth hormone


growth hormone releasing hormone


gonadotropin releasing hormone


thymidine activity


somatomedin C


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bozzola
    • 1
  • J. Argente
    • 2
  • M. Cisternino
    • 1
  • A. Moretta
    • 1
  • A. Valtorta
    • 1
  • I. Biscaldi
    • 1
  • M. Donnadieu
    • 2
  • D. Evain-Brion
    • 2
  • F. Severi
    • 1
  1. 1.Paediatric Clinic, 2nd ChairUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.INSERM U188ParisFrance

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