Growth hormone secretagogues: history, mechanism of action and clinical development

Junichi Ishida, Masakazu Saitoh, Nicole Ebner, Jochen Springer, Stefan D Anker, Stephan von Haehling


Growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) are a generic term to describe compounds which increase growth hormone (GH) release. GHSs include agonists of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), whose natural ligand is ghrelin, and agonists of the growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRH-R), to which the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) binds as a native ligand. Several GHSs have been developed with a view to treating or diagnosisg of GH deficiency, which causes growth retardation, gastrointestinal dysfunction and altered body composition, in parallel with extensive research to identify GHRH, GHS-R and ghrelin. This review will focus on the research history and the pharmacology of each GHS, which reached randomized clinical trials. Furthermore, we will highlight the publicly disclosed clinical trials regarding GHSs. 

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