In human serum, a specific binding protein with high affinity for human growth hormone (GHBP) is found which is identical to the extracellular portion of the hepatic GH receptor. GHBP is assessed by incubating serum samples with [<sup>125</sup>I]-GH, followed by separation of bound and free radioactivity using gel chromatography. In newborns and children younger than 2 months, GHBP was practically absent and no ‘big-big’ GH could be found. GHBP values increased rapidly during the first 2 years of life, followed by a slower increase during childhood and puberty. No difference was found between male and female subjects. Apart from age, standardized weight (SDS = z score) had a major positive effect on GHBP concentration. Interestingly, SDS height correlated negatively with GHBP when weight and age were controlled for. These data may relate to two clinical findings: (1) the developmental switch between GH-independent intrauterine and GH-dependent postnatal growth mechanisms, and (2) the accelerated growth velocity encountered in adipose children.