Malnutrition is considered a leading cause of growth attenuation in children. When food is replenished, spontaneous catch-up (CU) growth usually occurs, bringing the child back to its original growth trajectory. However, in some cases, the CU growth is not complete, leading to a permanent growth deficit. This review summarizes our current knowledge regarding the mechanism regulating nutrition and growth, including systemic factors, such as insulin, growth hormone, insulin- like growth factor-1, vitamin D, fibroblast growth factor-21, etc.
, and local mechanisms, including autophagy, as well as regulators of transcription, protein synthesis, miRNAs and epigenetics. Studying the molecular mechanisms regulating CU growth may lead to the establishment of better nutritional and therapeutic regimens for more effective CU growth in children with malnutrition and growth abnormalities. It will be fascinating to follow this research in the coming years and to translate the knowledge gained to clinical benefit.
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