Biological effects of growth hormone

GH primarily displays an anabolic activity. It partially stimulates the growth of bone, muscle and cartilage cells directly. Binding of GH to its hepatic receptor results in the synthesis and release of

Table 11.5 Some of the major biological effects promoted by growth hormone. Although many of these are direct, other effects are mediated via IGF-1 (Chapter 10)

Increased body growth (particularly bone and skeletal muscle)

Stimulation of protein synthesis in many tissues

Mobilization of depot lipids from adipose tissue (lipolytic effect)

Elevation of blood glucose levels (anti-insulin effect)

Increase of muscle and cardiac glycogen stores

Increased kidney size and enhanced renal function

Reticulocytosis (increased reticulocyte production in the bone marrow)

IGF-1, which mediates most of GH's growth-promoting activity on, for example, bone and skeletal muscle (Chapter 10). The major effects mediated by hGH are summarized in Table 11.5.

A deficiency in the secretion of hGH during the years of active body growth results in pituitary dwarfism (a condition responsive to exogenous hGH administration). On the other hand, overproduction of hGH during active body growth results in gigantism. hGH overproduction after primary body growth has occurred results in acromegaly, a condition characterized by enlarged hands and feet, as well as coarse features.

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