The effect of plasma on degradation of human growth hormone-releasing hormone (GRH) was examined in vitro and in vivo using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), radioimmunoassay (RIA), and bioassay. When GRH(1-44)-NH2 was incubated with human plasma, the t1/2 of total GRH immunoreactivity was 63 min (RIA). However, HPLC revealed a more rapid disappearance (t1/2, 17 min) of GRH(1-44)-NH2 that was associated with the appearance of a less hydrophobic but relatively stable peptide that was fully immunoreactive. Sequence analysis indicated its structure to be GRH(3-44)-NH2. Identity was also confirmed by co-elution of purified and synthetic peptides on HPLC. Biologic activity of GRH(3-44)-NH2 was less than 10(-3) that of GRH(1-44)-NH2. After intravenous injection of GRH(1-44)-NH2 in normal subjects, a plasma immunoreactive peak with HPLC retention comparable to GRH(3-44)-NH2 was detected within 1 min and the t1/2 of GRH(1-44)-NH2 (HPLC) was 6.8 min. The results provide evidence for GRH inactivation by a plasma dipeptidylaminopeptidase that could limit its effect on the pituitary.
L A Frohman, T R Downs, T C Williams, E P Heimer, Y C Pan, A M Felix