Send to

Choose Destination
Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2009 Jul;18(7):887-911. doi: 10.1517/13543780902893069.

Growth hormone: does it have a therapeutic role in fracture healing?

Author information

University of Leeds School of Medicine, Academic Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds, UK.



The role of growth hormone (GH) in augmenting fracture healing has been postulated for over half a century. GH has been shown to play a role in bone metabolism and this can be mediated directly or indirectly through IGF-I.


The use of GH was evaluated as a possible therapeutic agent in augmenting fracture healing.


A literature search was undertaken on GH and its effect on bone fracture healing primarily using MEDLINE/OVID (1950 to January 2009). Key words and phrases including 'growth hormone', 'insulin like growth factor', 'insulin like growth factor binding protein', 'insulin like growth factor receptor', 'fracture repair', 'bone healing', 'bone fracture', 'bone metabolism', 'osteoblast' and 'osteoclast' were used in different combinations. Manual searches of the bibliography of key papers were also undertaken.


Current evidence suggests a positive role of GH on fracture healing as demonstrated by in vitro studies on osteoblasts, osteoclasts and the crosstalk between the two. Animal studies have demonstrated a number of factors influencing the effect of GH in vivo such as dose, timing and method of administration. Application of this knowledge in humans is limited but clearly demonstrates a positive effect on fracture healing. Concern has been raised in the past regarding the safety profile of the pharmacological use of GH when used in critically ill patients.


The optimal dose and method of administration is still to be determined, and the safety profile of this novel use of GH needs to be investigated prior to establishing its widespread use as a fracture-healing agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center