Growth Hormone

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Growth hormone (GH) is a peptide hormone produced in anterior pituitary gland by somatotrophs. The release of GH is directly related to the growth hormone releasing factor (GHRH) (stimulates GH production) and somatostatin (inhibits GH production) which are released from the hypothalamus. These hormones determine how much GH is released into the blood stream. GH is a 191 amino acid residue[1].

The function of GH is to stimulate growth by rapid reproduction of cells. In children this fuels their growth in tissue and in adults it maintains bone and muscle mass [2].

There are several problems associated with GH including dwarfism and gigantism. These problems are due to the amount of GH produced by the pituitary gland, too much and an individual can develop gigantism and too little the individual will develop dwarfism. Another disease associated with GH is acromegaly which is the release of too much GH due to tumours in the pituitary gland. Symptoms include enlargered hands, jaws and feet. GH can now be isolated and used to treat young patients that have developed dwarfism [3].


  1. Wallis.M., Howell.S., Taylor.K., (1985) The Biochemistry of the Polypeptide Hormones, John Wiley & Sons LTD
  2. Norman.A., Litwack.G., (1987) Hormones, Academic Press INC
  3. Bowen. R., (2006) Growth Hormone (Somatotrophin) Available at: Last accesed: 22/10/12

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