GH secretagogues (GHS) are synthetic ghrelin receptor agonists that stimulate GH secretion. It is not clear whether they act predominantly by stimulating the secretion of hypothalamic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), or directly on the somatotrope cells. In addition, it is not known whether combined treatment with GHRH and GHS has synergistic effects on growth. To address these questions, we used the GH-deficient GHRH knock out (GHRHKO) mouse model, which has severe somatotrope cell hypoplasia. We treated GHRHKO mice for 5 weeks (from week 1 to week 6 of age) with the GHRH analogue JI-38 alone, or in combination with a GHS (GHRP-2), and at the end of the treatment we examined their response to an acute stimulus with GHRP-2 or GHRP-2 plus JI-38. We used placebo-treated GHRHKO mice and animals heterozygous for the GHRHKO allele as controls. Animals treated with JI-38+GHRP-2 reached higher body length and weight than animals treated with JI-38 alone. All the animals receiving JI-38 (with or without GHRP-2) showed similar correction of somatotrope cell hypoplasia. None of the GHRHKO animals showed a serum GH response to the acute stimulation with GHRP-2 alone, while both treated groups responded to the combined test with JI-38 + GHRP-2. These data demonstrate that in GHRHKO mice, GHRP-2 has a growth-stimulating effect that augments the response induced by JI-38. In addition, the presence of GHRH seems necessary for the stimulation of GH secretion by GHRP-2.