The growth-promoting effect of combined therapy with GH and IGF-I in normal rats is not known. We therefore investigated the efficacy of treatment with recombinant human (rh)GH and/or rhIGF-I on longitudinal bone growth and bone mass in intact, prepubertal, female Sprague-Dawley rats. rhGH was injected twice daily sc (5 mg/kg·d) and rhIGF-I continuously infused sc (2.2 or 4.4 mg/kg·d) for 28 days. Longitudinal bone growth was monitored by weekly x-rays of tibiae and nose-anus length measurements, and tibial growth plate histomorphology was analyzed. Bone mass was evaluated by peripheral quantitative computed tomography. In addition, serum levels of IGF-I, rat GH, acid labile subunit, IGF binding protein-3, 150-kDa ternary complex formation, and markers of bone formation and degradation were measured. Monotherapy with rhGH was more effective than rhIGF-I (4.4 mg/kg·d) to increase tibia and nose-anus length, whereas combined therapy did not further increase tibia, or nose-anus, lengths or growth plate height. In contrast, combined rhGH and rhIGF-I (4.4 mg/kg·d) therapy had an additive stimulatory effect on cortical bone mass vs rhGH alone. Combined treatment with rhGH and rhIGF-I resulted in markedly higher serum IGF-I concentrations vs rhGH alone but did not compromise the endogenous secretion of GH. We conclude that rhIGF-I treatment augments cortical bone mass but does not further improve bone growth in rhGH-treated young, intact, female rats.