Human Growth Hormone (Molecule of the Month for October 2006)
Somatotropin, somatotrophin, HGH, GH, rhGH
Human growth hormone is a polypeptide hormone synthesised and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland which stimulates growth and cell reproduction in humans and other vertebrate animals. In 1985, biosynthetic human growth hormone replaced pituitary-derived human growth hormone for therapeutic use in the U.S. and elsewhere. Biosynthetic human growth hormone, also referred to as recombinant human growth hormone, is also called somatropin and abbreviated as rhGH.
Effects of growth hormone on the tissues of the body can generally be described as anabolic (building up). Like most other protein hormones GH acts by interacting with a specific receptor on the surface of cells. Although height growth is the best known effect of GH, it serves many other metabolic functions as well. GH increases calcium retention, and strengthens and increases the mineralization of bone. It increases muscle mass through the creation of new muscle cells (which differs from hypertrophy), and it also promotes lipolysis, which results in the reduction of adipose tissue (body fat). As well, it increases protein synthesis and stimulates the growth of all internal organs excluding the brain
Deficiency of GH produces significantly different problems at various ages. In children, growth failure and short stature are the major manifestations of GH deficiency. In adults the effects of deficiency are more subtle, and may include deficiencies of strength, energy, and bone mass, as well as increased cardiovascular risk.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for October 2006 )