Provocative stimulation of growth hormone: A monozygotic twin study discordant for spinal cord injury

William A. Bauman, Run Lin Zhang, Ann M. Spungen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background/Objective: A blunted growth hormone (GH) response to provocative testing and/or low levels of plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) have been reported in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). A reduction in activity of the GH-IGF-I axis may have deleterious effects on body composition and function. Provocative testing for GH stimulation was performed to determine the response in monozygotic twins that were discordant for SCI. Methods: GH stimulation testing was performed by the administration of intravenous arginine. Results: Nine SCI twins with paraplegia, a mean age of 39 ± 9 years, and duration of injury of 14 ± 9 years were studied. The twins with SCI had a significantly lower body mass index than non-SCI twins (22.5 ± 4.0 vs 25.1 ± 4.2 kg/m2; P < 0.05); percent fat mass was greater in the twins with SCI (30 ± 11% vs 22 ± 10%; P < 0.05). Baseline serum GH was correlated with percent fat only in the SCI twins. The response to GH provocative stimulation was less in the twins with SCI: peak GH response was 5.8 ± 6.6 vs 13.0 ± 7.3 ng/mL (P < 0.05), and sum GH response was 15.7 ± 15.6 vs 30.2 ± 17.3 ng/mL (P = 0.06). Although baseline serum GH was correlated with stimulated response in the SCI twins, this relationship was not found in the non-SCI twins. Adiposity was positively related to the provocative serum GH response in twins with SCI rather than negatively related, as noted in the non-SCI twins. Conclusions: This study confirms and extends prior work that reported a reduction in stimulated GH release in persons with SCI, which was related to baseline values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Arginine stimulation test
  • Growth hormone
  • Insulin-like growth factor-I
  • Monozygotic twins
  • Paraplegia
  • Spinal cord injuries


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