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Clin Med Insights Endocrinol Diabetes. 2016 Oct 12;9:47-71. eCollection 2016.

Multiple Effects of Growth Hormone in the Body: Is it Really the Hormone for Growth?

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Scientific Direction, Medical Center Foltra, Teo, Spain.
Research and Development, Medical Center Foltra, 15886-Teo, Spain.


In this review, we analyze the effects of growth hormone on a number of tissues and organs and its putative role in the longitudinal growth of an organism. We conclude that the hormone plays a very important role in maintaining the homogeneity of tissues and organs during the normal development of the human body or after an injury. Its effects on growth do not seem to take place during the fetal period or during the early infancy and are mediated by insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) during childhood and puberty. In turn, IGF-I transcription is dependent on an adequate GH secretion, and in many tissues, it occurs independent of GH. We propose that GH may be a prohormone, rather than a hormone, since in many tissues and organs, it is proteolytically cleaved in a tissue-specific manner giving origin to shorter GH forms whose activity is still unknown.


cardiovascular system; gonads; growth; growth hormone; liver; nervous system

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Authors disclose no potential conflicts of interest.

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