growth hormone

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growth hormone



(sōmăt'ətrō`pən), glycoprotein hormonehormone,
secretory substance carried from one gland or organ of the body via the bloodstream to more or less specific tissues, where it exerts some influence upon the metabolism of the target tissue.
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 released by the anterior pituitary glandpituitary gland,
small oval endocrine gland that lies at the base of the brain. It is sometimes called the master gland of the body because all the other endocrine glands depend on its secretions for stimulation (see endocrine system).
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 that is necessary for normal skeletal growth in humans (see proteinprotein,
any of the group of highly complex organic compounds found in all living cells and comprising the most abundant class of all biological molecules. Protein comprises approximately 50% of cellular dry weight.
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). Evidence suggests that the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH) is regulated by the release of certain peptides by the hypothalamushypothalamus
, an important supervisory center in the brain, rich in ganglia, nerve fibers, and synaptic connections. It is composed of several sections called nuclei, each of which controls a specific function.
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 of the brain. One such substance, called somatostatin, has been shown to inhibit the secretion of HGH. HGH is known to act upon many aspects of cellular metabolism, but its most obvious effect is the stimulation of the growth of cartilage and bone in children.

See also auxinsauxin
, plant hormone that regulates the amount, type, and direction of plant growth. Auxins include both naturally occurring substances and related synthetic compounds that have similar effects. Auxins are found in all members of the plant kingdom.
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 (plant growth hormones).

Role in Dwarfism and Gigantism

A deficiency of growth hormone secretion before puberty (by the end of which the synthesis of new bone tissue is complete) results in pituitary dwarfism. Pituitary dwarfs, who can be as little as 3 to 4 ft (91–122 cm) tall, are generally well proportioned except for the head, which may be relatively large when compared to the body (this relationship of head to body is similar to that of normal children). Unlike cretins, whose dwarfism is caused by a deficiency of thyroxinethyroxine
, substance secreted by the thyroid gland. The hormone thyroxine forms by combining the amino acid tyrosine with iodine. Complexed to a protein, it is stored in the follicle stems between thyroid cells.
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, pituitary dwarfs are not mentally retarded; they are often sexually immature. They can be treated by injections of synthetic growth hormone, either somatrem or somatropin, which are produced by genetically engineered bacteria.

An excess of growth hormone in children results in gigantism; these children grow to be over 7 ft (213 cm) in height and have disproportionately long limbs. Excess growth hormone produced after puberty has little effect on the growth of the skeleton, but it results in a disease affecting terminal skeletal structures known as acromegalyacromegaly
, adult endocrine disorder resulting from hypersecretion of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Since the bones cannot increase in length after full growth is attained, there is a disproportionate thickening of bones, predominantly in the skull and small
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Other Medical Uses

HGH has been used with some success to combat the weight loss and general wasting characteristic of AIDS and cancer. It is used illegally by bodybuilders and athletes to increase muscle mass. Controversy surrounds its use in normal children who simply want to be taller. In addition, a 1990 medical study that reported the reversal of many of the physiological effects of aging with regular injections of HGH has created a lucrative black market for it and has prompted funding of further trials. There has been no conclusive evidence, however, to support the use of HGH as an anti-aging treatment, and it can cause serious side effects, including diabetes, in older adults.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Growth Hormone


an adenohypophyseal hormone that accelerates the longitudinal growth of an organism’s bones and the organism’s overall body growth. It also helps regulate carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism.

Growth hormone is synthesized by acidophilic cells of the anterior pituitary and secreted into the blood, where it is rapidly broken down. Human growth hormone is a protein with a molecular weight of 21,500. Its polypeptide chain consists of 191 amino-acid residues and contains two disulfide bridges. The primary structure of human, sheep, and ox growth hormone has been established.

The chemical structure of growth hormone has changed in different animals during the course of evolution, and the hormone has differentiated according to species. In man and sheep, for example, the hormones differ by a sequence of 70 amino-acid residues, which constitute more than one-third of the protein molecule. Therefore, animal growth hormone does not stimulate human growth, whereas human growth hormone is able to stimulate the growth of experimental animals (monkey growth hormone is closest to human growth hormone).

Increased secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary gland at an early age accelerates growth and causes gigantism. At a later age such increased secretion leads to acromegaly. A decrease in secretion results in hypophyseal dwarfism. This disease when detected in childhood responds to treatment by injections of growth hormone.


Sinitsina, A. L., and Iu. M. Keda. “Sovremennye predstavleniia o strukture i funktsii gormona rosta.” In the collection Sovremennye voprosy endokrinologii, fasc. 4. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

growth hormone

[′grōth ¦hȯr‚mōn]
A polypeptide hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary which promotes an increase in body size. Abbreviated GH.
Any hormone that regulates growth in plants and animals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Mixing and reconstitution are required for Humatrope, Genotropin, Easypod, and the needle-free injectors.
Even worse, Rost claims, was Pfizer's resolve to destroy anyone who stood in its way or who wanted--as Rost did--to tout the cost and health care benefits of importing drugs, and to tell the truth about Pfizer's decision to illegally promote off-label use of Genotropin as an anti-aging drug.
In the 89-patient study, 44 children received Omnitrope and 45 another Genotropin for 9 months in a daily subcutaneous injection of 0.03 mg/kg.
At first he denied having stolen goods down the front of his trousers and then he pulled out 10 vials of the growth hormone Genotropin, valued at pounds 2,782.
According to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association USA (PWSAUSA), FDA approval may also make it easier to obtain insurance or Medicaid coverage for Genotropin. Editor's note: As with any other drug, however, EP recommends consultation with a physician before beginning the treatment.
Baby Spice was at London's Savoy Hotel to hand Genotropin Achiever of the Year awards to youngsters Marita Hing, seven, of Slough, Berkshire, Tom Mann, 11, of Liverpool, and 13-year-old Sophie Hancock, of Bolton, Lancashire.
The aim was to design a sticker to be distributed to hospitals across the country to be used to brighten up a Genotropin pen, a device used to inject growth hormone.
Trial results demonstrated that TransCon Growth Hormone administered once-weekly to children with pediatric growth hormone deficiency had comparable safety and tolerability to daily Genotropin, with a significantly greater increase in annualized height velocity over the one-year study period.
The article notes that one of the first cases of a biosimilar being launched was when Omnitrope--a form of human growth hormone made by Novartis' generics business, Sandoz--was introduced to challenge Pfizer's Genotropin in 2007.
26 Tysabri Biogen IDEC 27 Kogenate FS/ Bayer Helixate FS 28 NovoSeven Novo Nordisk 29 Soliris Alexion 30 Neupogen Amgen 31 Simponi J&J 32 Xolair Roche Genentech & Novartis 33 Stelara J&J 34 Betaseron Bayer 35 Orencia BMS 36 Infanrix GSK 37 Humulin Lilly and Roche 38 Actemra Roche 39 Forteo Lilly 40 Nordi tropin Novo Nordisk 41 Synagis AstraZeneca 42 Yervoy BMS 43 Cerezyme Genzyme 44 BeneFIX Pfizer 45 Cimzia UCB Group 46 Gonal-f Merck KGaA 47 Fluzone Sanofi 48 TNKase Roche Genentech 49 Genotropin Pfizer 50 Xgeva Amgen 51 Lumizyme/ Myozyme Genzyme 52 Synflorix GSK 53 Pulmozyme Roche Genentech 54 Zostavax Merck & Co.