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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2015 Jul;31(5):492-9. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2631. Epub 2015 Feb 6.

The beneficial effect of growth hormone treatment on islet mass in streptozotocin-treated mice.

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The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
Diabetes and Metabolism Clinical Research Center of Excellence, Clinical Research Institute at Rambam (CRIR), Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel.
Pediatric Endocrinology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel.



Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, characterized by a loss of pancreatic β-cell mass and function, which results in dramatic reductions in insulin secretion and circulating insulin levels. Patients with type 1 diabetes are traditionally treated with insulin injections and insulin pumps ex vivo or undergo transplantation. Growth hormone (GH) has been shown to be involved in β-cell function and survival in culture.


Twelve-week-old female C57BL/6 mice were treated with streptozotocin and monitored for their weight and blood glucose levels. Fourteen days post-initial injection, these mice were separated into two groups at random. One group was treated with GH while the other treated with vehicle for up to 3 weeks. These mice were compared with mice not treated with streptozotocin.


Under our experimental conditions, we observed that mice treated with GH had larger islets and higher serum insulin levels than streptozotocin-treated mice treated with saline (0.288 vs. 0.073 ng/mL, p < 0.01).


Our data demonstrate that GH may rescue islets and therefore may possess therapeutic potential in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, although consideration should be made regarding GH's effect on insulin resistance.


growth hormone; insulin; islet cells; streptozotocin; type 1 diabetes

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