CONTEXTThe timing and frequency of GH secretory episodes is regulated by GHRH and somatostatin. This study provides evidence for amplification of these GH pulses by endogenous acyl-ghrelin.DESIGNBlood was sampled every 10 min for 26.5 h during a fed admission with standardized meals and also during the final 24 h of a 61.5-h fast. GH secretion profiles were derived from deconvolution of 10-min sampling data, and full-length acyl-ghrelin levels were measured using a newly developed two-site sandwich assay.SETTINGThe study was conducted at a university hospital general clinical research center.PARTICIPANTSParticipants included eight men with mean (+/- sd) age 24.5 +/- 3.7 yr (body mass index 24 +/- 2.1 kg/m(2)).RESULTSCorrelations were computed between amplitudes of individual GH secretory events and the average acyl-ghrelin concentration in the 60-min interval preceding each GH burst. In the fed state, the peak correlations were positive for all subjects and significantly higher than in the fasting state when acyl-ghrelin levels declined [mean (+/- sem): 0.7 (0.04) vs. 0.29 (0.08), P = 0.017]. In addition, long-term fasting was associated with an increase in the GH secretory pulse mass and amplitude but not frequency [fed vs. fasting pulse mass: 0.22 (0.05) vs. 0.44 (0.06) microg/liter, P = 0.002; amplitude: 5.2 (1.3) vs. 11.8 (1.9) microg/liter/min, P = 0.034; pulses per 24 h: 19.4 (0.5) vs. 22.0 (1.4), P = 0.1].CONCLUSIONOur data support the hypothesis that under normal conditions in subjects given regular meals endogenous acyl-ghrelin acts to increase the amplitude of GH pulses.