Glucagon stimulation test to assess growth hormone status in Prader–Willi syndrome

L. Casamitjana, O. Giménez-Palop, R. Corripio, R. Pareja, E. Berlanga, M. Rigla, Jc Oliva, A. Caixàs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) must be confirmed before starting treatment in adults with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Most studies use the growth-hormone-releasing hormone plus arginine (GHRH-arginine) test. No data are available on the glucagon stimulation test (GST) in PWS. We compared the utility of fixed-dose (1 mg) GST versus GHRH-arginine test in diagnosing GHD. Methods: Adults and late adolescents with PWS underwent both tests on separate days. In the GHRH-arginine test, GHD was defined according to body mass index. In the GST, two cutoffs were analyzed: peak GH concentration < 3 ng/mL and < 1 ng/mL. For analyses, patients were divided into two groups according to body weight (≤ 90 kg and > 90 kg). Results: We analyzed 34 patients: 22 weighing ≤ 90 kg and 12 weighing > 90 kg. In patients weighing ≤ 90 kg, the two tests were concordant in 16 (72.72%) patients (k = 0.476, p = 0.009 with GST cutoff < 3 ng/mL, and k = 0.450, p = 0.035 with GST cutoff < 1 ng/mL). In patients weighing > 90 kg, the two tests were not concordant with GST cutoff < 3 ng/mL, but were concordant in 11 (91.6%) patients (k = 0.833, p = 0.003) with GST cutoff < 1 ng/mL. GH peaks on the two tests correlated (r = 0.725, p = 0.008). Conclusion: Fixed-dose (1 mg) GST using a peak GH cutoff of < 3 ng/mL or < 1 ng/mL promises to be useful for screening for GHD in adults and late adolescents with PWS. However, in those weighing > 90 kg, the < 1 ng/mL cutoff seems better. Larger studies are necessary to establish definitive glucagon doses and cutoffs, especially in extremely obese patients.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2020


  • GHRH-arginine test
  • Glucagon-stimulation test
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Prader–Willi


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