A study was performed on adolescent hyperthyroid patients to determine the effects of hyperthyroidism on insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and its binding proteins. Serum concentrations of immunoreactive total and free IGF-I, and IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-2 and IGFBP-3 were determined before and after correction of hyperthyroidism in eight patients with Grave's disease and compared to control patients matched for age, sex and pubertal stage. The concentration of serum total IGF-I was not significantly different in the hyperthyroid state and euthyroid state, and did not differ significantly from euthyroid controls. IGFBP-2 levels were elevated three-fold in hyperthyroid patients at the time of diagnosis of hyperthyroidism compared to control subjects, and fell significantly during treatment. There was also a significant positive correlation between serum IGFBP-2 concentrations and thyroxine (T4) concentrations in all subjects. Serum IGFBP-3 concentrations were also elevated in hyperthyroid subjects and normalized with correction of the hyperthyroidism. There was also a positive correlation between serum T4 and IGFBP-3 concentrations in all subjects. Despite the hyperthyroid-induced elevations in IGFBP-2 and -3, no significant difference in the serum concentration of free IGF-I before or after correction of the hyperthyroid condition was observed. We conclude that hyperthyroidism does not cause alterations in the serum concentrations of either free or total IGF-I. However, both serum IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 concentrations were elevated during hyperthyroidism and correlated with serum T4 levels. These abnormalities reversed with normalization of thyroid function.