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Growth Horm IGF Res. 1998 Jun;8(3):251-64.

Growth hormone administration can improve growth in glucocorticoid-injected rats without affecting the lymphocytopenic effect of the glucocorticoid.

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Department of Connective Tissue Biology, Institute of Anatomy, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


Long-term glucocorticoid therapy as it is found in children with kidney transplants results in retarded longitudinal growth. The aim of the present study was to evaluate if growth hormone could improve longitudinal growth in glucocorticoid-injected experimental animals without affecting the immuno-suppressive effect of the glucocorticoid. 117 female Wistar rats were injected from the ages of 2-5 months with either saline, growth hormone (5 mg/kg/day), or glucocorticoid (methylprednisolone 1,3,6 or 9 mg/kg/day), alone or in combination with growth hormone (5 mg/kg/day). Body weight, nose-tail length and length of the lower extremity were measured continuously during the study. After death, femoral and tibial lengths, growth at the proximal, epiphyseal growth plate, muscle mass and immunological parameters were examined. Glucocorticoid administration dose-dependently decreased weight gain and growth (nose-tail length, growth of the lower extremity), lengths of femur and tibia, growth at the proximal, epiphyseal growth plate and muscle mass. Glucocorticoid administration decreased spleen and thymus weight as well as the white blood cell count (WBC count), mainly due to a decrease in lymphocyte number. For all glucocorticoid doses examined, growth hormone increased weight gain and growth (nose-tail length, growth of the lower extremity), lengths of femur and tibia, and muscle mass. The effects of growth hormone were, however, dose-dependently decreased by glucocorticoid administration. Growth hormone injection alone increased the WBC count due to an increase in the number of lymphocytes and monocytes. When the two hormones were administered concomitantly, growth hormone did not, however, reverse the lymphocytopenic effect induced by glucocorticoid administration. In conclusion, growth hormone can increase longitudinal growth and increase muscle mass in glucocorticoid-injected rats, if a glucocorticoid preparation of a short half-life is used. Growth hormone does not reverse the lymphocytopenic effect of glucocorticoid injections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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