What is Growth Hormone?

Growth hormone is a protein hormone of about 190 amino acids that is synthesized and secreted by cells called somatotrophs in the anterior pituitary gland. It is a major participant in control of growth and metabolism in the body. Growth hormone is also of considerable interest as a drug used in both humans and animals.[7]

Physiologic Effects of Growth Hormone

Two distinct types of effects of growth hormone activity:

Direct effects are the result of growth hormone binding its receptor on target cells. Fat cells ,for example, have growth hormone receptors, and growth hormone stimulates them to break down triglyceride and suppresses their ability to take up and accumulate circulating lipids.

Indirect effects are mediated primarily by a insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a hormone that is secreted from the liver and other tissues in response to growth hormone. A majority of the growth promoting effects of growth hormone is actually due to IGF-I acting on its target cells.

Growth Hormone Deficiency

Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD): A growth disorder that is specific to the hormones that govern growth is called growth hormone deficiency. This condition involves the pituitary gland producing not enough hormones for normal growth, and growth slows down or stops. [5]

  • Growth hormone is needed for normal growth in children. In adults, growth hormone is needed to maintain the proper amounts of body fat, muscle, and bone. In adults, low or absent growth hormone can also cause emotional symptoms, such as tiredness and lack of motivation. Cholesterol may also be affected. Adults with growth hormone deficiency usually have a history of pituitary tumors that may have been treated with surgery or radiation.

GH deficiency can occur at any age.[6]

Causes of GHD could be: genetic reasons, lack of nutrition, sickle cell anemia, Constitutional growth delay, dwarfism, hormones, hyopthyroidism, and Turner syndrome. [5]

Today, recombinant human growth hormone is use to treat children and adults with GHD.

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