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Human Growth Hormone - A Biological Overview

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What is growth hormone?

It is a protein hormone consisting of around 190 amino acids. Cells called somatotrophs located in the pituitary gland secrete and synthesise these hormones. This hormone plays a great role in controlling the physiological phenomena like growth and metobolism. 

The growth hormone can have both direct and indirect effect on the body. But their main function is maintaining the growth process in the body, as also keeping the metabolic rate of the body in tact. 

Effects of human growth hormone

Studies have shown that there is a remarkable effect of the growth hormone on the body. They can either be direct, like binding the receptors with appropriate cells and also indirect effects like promoting the effects of the hormone called insulin-like-factor, which is responsible for the growth of the body. 

Effects of ‘human growth hormone’ on the growth of the body

The growth hormone actually stimulates the tissues and the liver for the secretion of insulin-like-factor, which in turn promotes the growth of bone by proliferating the cartilage cells. 

The human growth hormone also plays a key role in the growth of the muscles by acting on the myblasts, and also taking part in protein synthesis. 

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Metabolic effects

The human growth hormone plays an important role in the metabolism of the human body. lt takes part in the protein metabolism, fat metabolism and also in the carbohydrate metabolism. 

Secretion of growth hormone

The secretion of human growth hormone is controlled both by the internal body constituent as well as the external conditions like the level of stress, amount of nutrition and exercise. But mainly, the hypothalamic hormones control them. 

Imbalance in human growth hormone

Both lack of secretion of human growth hormone and its excess secretion, might lead to a state of disease. The effects of deficiency may be due the actual production of these hormones as also due to the lack of proper reception by the target cells. 

Physiological manifestation of these effects may be in the lack of proper growth. The people become short leading even to dwarfism. Depending upon the age factor, the actual effect may vary. Heredity also plays a major role in moulding the effects of lack of human growth hormone. 

Like lack of proper secretion, excess secretion of human growth hormone may also have a deleterious effect on humans. They can be -

Giantism – This type of disorder produced due to excessive secretion of human growth hormone, is generally not found but this effects at a very young age. Children and adolescents who suffer from this syndrome have a very high growth. 

Acromegaly – This disorder due to secretion of excessive human growth hormone is seen on the adults. It happens, when there develops a harmless tumour in the pituitary gland area. It develops over a long period of time. 

Medical use of human growth hormone 

The human growth hormone has taken up a great significance. It is mainly used to treat children who have a retarded growth. The growth hormone produced with the help of DNA technology has made it easier to try it in various forms of growth related issues like aging etc.

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