26 July 2017
adipose tissue, obesity, growth hormone, growth factor-1 (IGF-1), bovine GH transgenic (bGH) mice, growth hormone receptor (GHR)-/- mice, GHR antagonist (GHA) mice, acromegaly, Laron syndrome, growth hormone deficiency
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.