Growth Hormone Deficiency

Total six hormones synthesized by the anterior pituitary (adenohypophysis) are as follows:
(1) Growth hormone (GH) or somatotropic hormone (STH)
(2) Prolactin or lactogenic hormone or mammotropin (LTH)
(3) Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or corticotropin
(4) Thyrotropic hormone or thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) or thyrotropin
(5) Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
(6) Luteinizing hormone (LH) or interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH)

All of the above hormones have its definite functions and their deficiency causes several problems to our body. In this page we are going to give a brief discussion about the growth hormone deficiency and hope that it will be very easy to understand not only for the students but also for the common people.

Growth hormone (GH, somatotropic hormone, STH, somatotropin). Somatotrophs (acidophil cells) produce the growth hormone somatotropin. Normally, the Growth Hormone content of adenohypophysis is very high (3 to 5 mg). It is a peptide hormone with 191 amino acids and a molecular weight of about 21,500.

Before we know about the growth hormone deficiency we should know about the Growth Hormone first.

A Growth Hormone inhibitory factor (GHIH), called somatosiatin, secreted by the hypothalamus inhibits GH secretion. Besides, adrenalin and progesterone also cause inhibition of GH. However, a GH release factor (GHRH), called somatocrinin, secreted from the hypothalamus causes stimulation of growth hormone secretion.

Normal & Abnormal GH

And what happen when growth hormone deficiency occur? Functionally, somatotropin is the most important hormone for normal growth of the body. It does so by stimulating retention of proteins and calcium in the body, synthesis and disposition of proteins in the tissues, growth and elongation of long bones, and proportionate growth of the muscles and visceral organs. It affects carbohydrate and fat metabolism and due to growth hormone deficiency the carbohydrate and fat metabolism will be hampered.

Growth hormone also increases blood sugar level and lipolysis of the adipose tissue. Normal growth pattern is disturbed by the secretion of abnormal levels of GH. Growth hormone deficiency leads to dwarfism, while excessive secretion produces gigantism and acromegaly .

Growth hormone deficiency in childhood produces profound impairment of growth. Children with growth hormone deficiency grow less than half of the normal rate, leading to dwarfism.

On the other hand, secretion of growth hormone in excess amounts in childhood or puberty causes gigantism. Extremely large individuals are produced due to excessive growth of essentially normal pattern. The giants tend to die early in adulthood as a result of infection, delity or other pituitary abnormalities.

So like growth hormone deficiency, the excess secretion of growth hormone also create problem for the human body. However, over secretion of growth hormone in adulthood causes acromegaly. Abnormal growth occurs in extremities of the body, such as hands and feet, which become enlarged and spade-like. Head becomes large and elongated with prominent jaws, giving a gorilla like appearance, but no giant stature.

Children and some adults with growth hormone deficiency will benefit from growth hormone therapy. The goals of treatment are to increase growth in children and re-establish energy, metabolism, and body composition.