Stimulation of pig growth performance by porcine growth hormone and growth hormone-releasing factor.

T. D. Etherton, J. P. Wiggins, C. S. Chung, C. M. Evock, J. F. Rebhun, P. E. Walton

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115 Scopus citations


The current study was undertaken to determine the effects of human growth hormone-releasing factor [hpGRF-(1-44)-NH2] on growth performance in pigs and whether this response was comparable to exogenous porcine growth hormone (pGH) treatment. Preliminary studies were conducted to determine if GRF increased plasma GH concentration after iv and im injection and the nature of the dose response. Growth hormone-releasing factor stimulated the release of pGH in a dose-dependent fashion, although the individual responses varied widely among pigs. The results from the im study were used to determine the dose of GRF to use for a 30-d growth trial. Thirty-six Yorkshire-Duroc barrows (initial wt 50 kg) were randomly allotted to one of three experimental groups (C = control, GRF and pGH). Pigs were treated daily with 30 micrograms of GRF/kg body weight by im injection in the neck. Pigs treated with pGH were also given 30 micrograms/kg body weight by im injection. Growth rate was increased 10% by pGH vs C pigs (P less than .05). Growth rate was not affected by GRF; however, hot and chilled carcass weights were increased 5% vs C pigs (P less than .05). On an absolute basis, adipose tissue mass was unaffected by pGH or GRF. Carcass lipid (percent of soft-tissue mass) was decreased 13% by GRF (P less than .05) and 18% by pGH (P less than .05). Muscle mass was significantly increased by pGH but not by GRF. There was a trend for feed efficiency to be improved by GRF; however, this was not different from control pigs. In contrast, pGH increased feed efficiency 19% vs control pigs (P less than .05). Chronic administration of GRF increased anterior pituitary weight but did not affect pituitary GH content or concentration. When blood was taken 3 h post-injection, both GRF- and pGH-treated pigs had lower blood-urea nitrogen concentrations. Serum glucose was significantly elevated by both GRF and pGH treatment. This was associated with an elevation in serum insulin. These results indicate that increasing the GH concentration in blood by either exogenous GH or GRF enhances growth performance. The effects of pGH were more marked than for GRF. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal dose of GRF to administer in growth trials and the appropriate pattern of GRF administration in order to determine whether GRF will enhance pig growth performance to the extent that exogenous pGH does.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1399
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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