To determine if the development of the somatotropic axis in somatic clones (clones) is similar to that in heifers produced by artificial insemination (controls), serum samples were collected every 30 min for 6 h, once per month, for 7 mo from 4 clones generated from a 13-yr-old cow and from 4 age-matched controls. Average concentrations of growth hormone (GH) were not different between clones and controls, and GH concentrations declined over time in controls. Average concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) were less in clones than controls, and IGF-I concentrations increased over time in both groups. Concentrations of IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) were greater in controls than in clones and did not change over time. Average IGFBP-2 concentrations did not change over time and were not different between clones and controls. Clones and controls were challenged with GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) (3 μg/100 kg body weight) and somatostatin (somatotropin release-inhibiting factor [SRIF]) (1.87 and 5 μg/100 kg body weight) at 14 mo of age. GHRH-induced GH secretion was greater and SRIF inhibition of GHRH-induced GH was less in clones than in controls. We speculate that some of the differences between clones and controls in concentrations of GH, IGF-I, and IGFBP-3 may be related to the genetic merit of the animals. Although there were differences in concentrations of components of the somatotropic axis between these clones and their age-matched controls, the values recorded were all within the range reported for calves of similar ages.
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