Growth Hormone

Growth Hormone Definition

“Growth hormone is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary gland, that stimulates development, growth, and regeneration.”

What is Growth Hormone?

The growth hormone is produced by the anterior pituitary. It is made up of 191 amino acids that make a long single-chain polypeptide. It is synthesized in somatotropic cells found in the anterior pituitary gland. These cells also store and release the hormone.

The growth hormone is responsible for the regulation of several physiological processes such as growth and metabolism. It is also used as a drug in animals and plants.

Let us have a detailed look at the growth hormone function and its types.

Also Read: Hormones

Types of Growth Hormone

Growth hormones are of two types:

Somatotropin– growth hormones are otherwise referred by this name and is formed in animals

Somatropin – these are growth hormones that are in the synthetic form produced utilizing recombinant DNA technologies.

Effects of Growth Hormone

The growth hormone has the following effects:

Physiological Effects

There are two different types of physiological effects of growth hormones:

Direct Effects

These are observed when the growth hormone binds with the receptor on the target cells. For eg., fat cells have growth hormone receptors which are stimulated by these hormones to break the triglycerides and suppress their ability to accumulate circulating fats.

Indirect Effects

These are mediated by the insulin-like growth factor. Several growth-promoting effects of the hormone are due to the insulin-like growth factor acting on its target cells.

Metabolic Effects

The growth hormone has essential effects on proteins, carbohydrates and lipid metabolism.

Protein Metabolism

The metabolic effect reflects increased protein synthesis and decreased protein oxidation.

Lipid Metabolism

Growth hormone stimulates triglyceride breakdown and adipocytes oxidation.

Carbohydrate Metabolism

Growth hormone maintains blood glucose levels and it is believed to have anti-insulin activity, which suppresses the ability of insulin to take up glucose.

Also read: Metabolism

Growth Hormone Function

Following are the important growth hormone function:

  1. It maintains normal body structure and metabolism.
  2. Maintains, builds, and repairs healthy tissue in the brain and other organs.
  3. The growth hormone is utilized widely in medicines that heal the growth disorders in children and hormone deficiency in adults.
  4. The growth hormone enhances growth in adolescents and children.
  5. It also contributes to the regulation of body fluids, fat metabolism, sugar and also the functions of the heart.
  6. The growth hormone reduces body fat by increasing bone density and muscle mass.
  7. The energy levels rise consequently, along with improved skin tone and bone density. Due to these properties, the growth hormone is utilized by sports players and hence banned by NCAA and IOC.

Regulation of Growth Hormone

The formation of growth hormone is regulated by the releasing hormone called somatocrinin along with inhibiting hormone called somatostatin, which is released by the neurosecretory nuclei of the hypothalamus.

These regulating hormones are liberated in the hypophysial portal blood that surmounts the pituitary gland. The release of a hormone in the pituitary is monitored by these two hormones that are affected by many external inhibitory factors.

Various factors stimulate the release of growth hormone, which includes:

  • Ghrelin acts by linking to GHSR (Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptors).
  • The growth hormone-releasing hormone acts by linking to GHRHR (Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone Receptor).
  • Sex hormones like estrogen and androgens stimulate the secretion of growth hormone at the time of puberty.

Also Read: Mechanism of Hormone Action

To know more about growth hormone, types of growth hormone, growth hormone function, or any other related topics, explore @ BYJU’S Biology.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the growth hormone?

Growth hormone is a protein of about 190 amino acids that are synthesised and secreted by cells called somatotrophs in the anterior pituitary gland. It regulates several physiological processes such as metabolism and growth.


What does the growth hormone do for children?

The growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland and affects the growth, bone density, muscles and lipid metabolism in children.


Name the different types of growth hormones.

Somatropin and somatotropin are two different types of growth hormone. Somatotropin is formed naturally in animals whereas, somatropin is synthesized by recombinant DNA technology.


What are the effects of hypersecretion of growth hormone?

Hypersecretion of growth hormone causes gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults. Pituitary tumours are also caused due to hypersecretion of growth hormone in adults.


What is the effect of hyposecretion of growth hormone?

Hyposecretion of growth hormone causes dwarfism in children and changes the cholesterol levels, muscle mass and bone strength in adults.


How is the secretion of the growth hormone-regulated?

The secretion of the growth hormone is regulated by the hypothalamus and mediators of growth hormone actions. Other factors include- growth hormone-releasing hormone, somatostatin (SRIF), growth hormone-releasing peptide (ghrerin), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I).


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