Growth Hormone’s Effect on Adipose Tissue: Quality versus Quantity

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(8):1621 DOI 10.3390/ijms18081621


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

ISSN: 1661-6596 (Print); 1422-0067 (Online)

Publisher: MDPI AG

LCC Subject Category: Science: Biology (General) | Science: Chemistry

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Darlene E. Berryman (The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University, 108 Konneker Research Labs, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, USA)

Edward O. List (The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University, 108 Konneker Research Labs, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, USA)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Obesity is an excessive accumulation or expansion of adipose tissue (AT) due to an increase in either the size and/or number of its characteristic cell type, the adipocyte. As one of the most significant public health problems of our time, obesity and its associated metabolic complications have demanded that attention be given to finding effective therapeutic options aimed at reducing adiposity or the metabolic dysfunction associated with its accumulation. Growth hormone (GH) has therapeutic potential due to its potent lipolytic effect and resultant ability to reduce AT mass while preserving lean body mass. However, AT and its resident adipocytes are significantly more dynamic and elaborate than once thought and require one not to use the reduction in absolute mass as a readout of efficacy alone. Paradoxically, therapies that reduce GH action may ultimately prove to be healthier, in part because GH also possesses potent anti-insulin activities along with concerns that GH may promote the growth of certain cancers. This review will briefly summarize some of the newer complexities of AT relevant to GH action and describe the current understanding of how GH influences this tissue using data from both humans and mice. We will conclude by considering the therapeutic use of GH or GH antagonists in obesity, as well as important gaps in knowledge regarding GH and AT.