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Special Issue "Growth Hormone (GH): Multiple Therapeutic Possibilities and Molecular Mechanisms of Action"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jesús Devesa
Website
Guest Editor
Scientific Director of The Medical Center Foltra. Travesía de Montouto 24, 15886 TEO, Spain
Interests: growth hormone; growth hormone receptor; IGF-I; brain injury; stroke; cerebral palsy; hypoxia/ischemia; neurodegeneration; atherosclerosis; growth hormone and gonads; growth hormone and diabetes; growth hormone and cancer; growth hormone signaling pathway
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Classically, GH has been considered as a pituitary hormone, with predominantly metabolic actions and an effect on the longitudinal growth of the organism until the end of puberty. However, today we know that GH is expressed in virtually all tissues and organs of the human body, in which it plays a self/paracrine role, possibly, although it is not known, in cooperation with the hormone that reaches them from the plasma after being released by the pituitary gland. We also know that after interacting with its membrane receptor, GH is internalized together with the GHR, a mechanism that allows the GHR to be translocated to the nucleus of the cells for inducing, or blocking, gene expression; we also know that, at least in rodents, internalized GH undergoes a proteolytic break (tissue, sex, and age-specific), giving rise to shorter peptides of which action is still unknown. Since the beginning of the 2000s, when it was discovered that the GHR was upregulated in the brain of rodents after induced brain damage, the interest in the possible actions of GH in the repair of the brain has been increasing until today. The same occurs with the effects of the hormone on the vascular endothelium, where GH seems to play a beneficial effect; or in the gonads, where a local GH/IGF-I axis seems to play a key role in the physiological gonadal function. The effects of GH on the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans, and diabetes, need to be clarified, as well as the relationships between GH and cancer. Furthermore, GH signaling pathways in different tissues have to be elucidated, and the same occurs with the induction by GH of the expression of many different growth factors.

Giving an answer to these molecular mechanisms of action, still unknown or poorly understood, and the relationships between GH and other growth factors will provide a better understanding of the effects of this important hormone, for its therapeutic use in many different pathologies beyond its mere use for growth in GH-deficient children.

For these reasons, researchers are invited to submit their original research or reviews for this Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, entitled "Growth Hormone (GH): Multiple Possibilities and Molecular Mechanisms of Action", which will cover a selection of topics highlighting the role of GH and its molecular effects in health (included aging) and therapeutic possibilities.

Prof. Dr. Jesús Devesa
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH) and Somatostatin (SST), but not Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH) nor Ghrelin (GHRL), Regulate Expression and Release of Immune Growth Hormone (GH) from Chicken Bursal B-Lymphocyte Cultures
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1436; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041436 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
It is known that growth hormone (GH) is expressed in immune cells, where it exerts immunomodulatory effects. However, the mechanisms of expression and release of GH in the immune system remain unclear. We analyzed the effect of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone [...] Read more.
It is known that growth hormone (GH) is expressed in immune cells, where it exerts immunomodulatory effects. However, the mechanisms of expression and release of GH in the immune system remain unclear. We analyzed the effect of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), ghrelin (GHRL), and somatostatin (SST) upon GH mRNA expression, intracellular and released GH, Ser133-phosphorylation of CREB (pCREBS133), intracellular Ca2+ levels, as well as B-cell activating factor (BAFF) mRNA expression in bursal B-lymphocytes (BBLs) cell cultures since several GH secretagogues, as well as their corresponding receptors (-R), are expressed in B-lymphocytes of several species. The expression of TRH/TRH-R, ghrelin/GHS-R1a, and SST/SST-Rs (Subtypes 1 to 5) was observed in BBLs by RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry (ICC), whereas GHRH/GHRH-R were absent in these cells. We found that TRH treatment significantly increased local GH mRNA expression and CREB phosphorylation. Conversely, SST decreased GH mRNA expression. Additionally, when added together, SST prevented TRH-induced GH mRNA expression, but no changes were observed in pCREBS133 levels. Furthermore, TRH stimulated GH release to the culture media, while SST increased the intracellular content of this hormone. Interestingly, SST inhibited TRH-induced GH release in a dose-dependent manner. The coaddition of TRH and SST decreased the intracellular content of GH. After 10 min. of incubation with either TRH or SST, the intracellular calcium levels significantly decreased, but they were increased at 60 min. However, the combined treatment with both peptides maintained the Ca2+ levels reduced up to 60-min. of incubation. On the other hand, BAFF cytokine mRNA expression was significantly increased by TRH administration. Altogether, our results suggest that TRH and SST are implicated in the regulation of GH expression and release in BBL cultures, which also involve changes in pCREBS133 and intracellular Ca2+ concentration. It is likely that TRH, SST, and GH exert autocrine/paracrine immunomodulatory actions and participate in the maturation of chicken BBLs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tissue Distribution and Receptor Activation by Somapacitan, a Long Acting Growth Hormone Derivative
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041181 - 11 Feb 2020
Abstract
Somapacitan is a long-acting, once-weekly, albumin-binding growth hormone (GH) derivative. The reversible albumin-binding properties leads to prolonged circulation half-life. Here, we investigated and compared somapacitan with human GH on downstream receptor signaling in primary hepatocytes and hepatocellular models and using isothermal titration calorimetry [...] Read more.
Somapacitan is a long-acting, once-weekly, albumin-binding growth hormone (GH) derivative. The reversible albumin-binding properties leads to prolonged circulation half-life. Here, we investigated and compared somapacitan with human GH on downstream receptor signaling in primary hepatocytes and hepatocellular models and using isothermal titration calorimetry to characterize receptor binding of somapacitan in the presence or absence of human serum albumin (HSA). With non-invasive fluorescence imaging we quantitatively visualize and compare the temporal distribution and examine the tissue-specific growth hormone receptor (GHR) activation at distribution sites. We found that signaling kinetics were slightly more rapid and intense for GH compared with somapacitan. Receptor binding isotherms were characterized by a high and a low affinity interaction site with or without HSA. Using in vivo optical imaging we found prolonged systemically biodistribution of somapacitan compared with GH, which correlated with plasma pharmacokinetics. Ex vivo mouse organ analysis revealed that the temporal fluorescent intensity in livers dosed with somapacitan was significantly increased compared with GH-dosed livers and correlated with the degree of downstream GHR activation. Finally, we show that fluorescent-labeled analogs distributed to the hypertrophic zone in the epiphysis of proximal tibia of hypophysectomized rats and that somapacitan and GH activate the GHR signaling in epiphyseal tissues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth Hormone Promotes Motor Function after Experimental Stroke and Enhances Recovery-Promoting Mechanisms within the Peri-Infarct Area
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020606 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Motor impairment is the most common and widely recognised clinical outcome after stroke. Current clinical practice in stroke rehabilitation focuses mainly on physical therapy, with no pharmacological intervention approved to facilitate functional recovery. Several studies have documented positive effects of growth hormone (GH) [...] Read more.
Motor impairment is the most common and widely recognised clinical outcome after stroke. Current clinical practice in stroke rehabilitation focuses mainly on physical therapy, with no pharmacological intervention approved to facilitate functional recovery. Several studies have documented positive effects of growth hormone (GH) on cognitive function after stroke, but surprisingly, the effects on motor function remain unclear. In this study, photothrombotic occlusion targeting the motor and sensory cortex was induced in adult male mice. Two days post-stroke, mice were administered with recombinant human GH or saline, continuing for 28 days, followed by evaluation of motor function. Three days after initiation of the treatment, bromodeoxyuridine was administered for subsequent assessment of cell proliferation. Known neurorestorative processes within the peri-infarct area were evaluated by histological and biochemical analyses at 30 days post-stroke. This study demonstrated that GH treatment improves motor function after stroke by 50%–60%, as assessed using the cylinder and grid walk tests. Furthermore, the observed functional improvements occurred in parallel with a reduction in brain tissue loss, as well as increased cell proliferation, neurogenesis, increased synaptic plasticity and angiogenesis within the peri-infarct area. These findings provide new evidence about the potential therapeutic effects of GH in stroke recovery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Involved in the Functional Motor Recovery of Rats with Cortical Ablation after GH and Rehabilitation Treatment: Cortical Cell Proliferation and Nestin and Actin Expression in the Striatum and Thalamus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5770; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225770 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Previously we demonstrated, in rats, that treatment with growth hormone (GH) and rehabilitation, carried out immediately after a motor cortical ablation, significantly improved the motor affectation produced by the lesion and induced the re-expression of nestin in the contralateral motor cortex. Here we [...] Read more.
Previously we demonstrated, in rats, that treatment with growth hormone (GH) and rehabilitation, carried out immediately after a motor cortical ablation, significantly improved the motor affectation produced by the lesion and induced the re-expression of nestin in the contralateral motor cortex. Here we analyze cortical proliferation after ablation of the frontal motor cortex and investigate the re-expression of nestin in the contralateral motor cortex and the role of the striatum and thalamus in motor recovery. The rats were subjected to ablation of the frontal motor cortex in the dominant hemisphere or sham-operated and immediately treated with GH or the vehicle (V), for five days. At 1 dpi (days post-injury), all rats received daily injections (for four days) of bromodeoxyuridine and five rats were sacrificed at 5 dpi. The other 15 rats (n = 5/group) underwent rehabilitation and were sacrificed at 25 dpi. GH induced the greatest number of proliferating cells in the perilesional cortex. GH and rehabilitation produced the functional recovery of the motor lesion and increased the expression of nestin in the striatum. In the thalamic ventral nucleus ipsilateral to the lesion, cells positive for nestin and actin were detected, but this was independent on GH. Our data suggest that GH-induced striatal nestin is involved in motor recovery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regenerative Effect of Growth Hormone (GH) in the Retina after Kainic Acid Excitotoxic Damage
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184433 - 10 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In addition to its role as an endocrine messenger, growth hormone (GH) also acts as a neurotrophic factor in the central nervous system (CNS), whose effects are involved in neuroprotection, axonal growth, and synaptogenic modulation. An increasing amount of clinical evidence shows a [...] Read more.
In addition to its role as an endocrine messenger, growth hormone (GH) also acts as a neurotrophic factor in the central nervous system (CNS), whose effects are involved in neuroprotection, axonal growth, and synaptogenic modulation. An increasing amount of clinical evidence shows a beneficial effect of GH treatment in patients with brain trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, impaired cognitive function, and neurodegenerative processes. In response to injury, Müller cells transdifferentiate into neural progenitors and proliferate, which constitutes an early regenerative process in the chicken retina. In this work, we studied the long-term protective effect of GH after causing severe excitotoxic damage in the retina. Thus, an acute neural injury was induced via the intravitreal injection of kainic acid (KA, 20 µg), which was followed by chronic administration of GH (10 injections [300 ng] over 21 days). Damage provoked a severe disruption of several retinal layers. However, in KA-damaged retinas treated with GH, we observed a significant restoration of the inner plexiform layer (IPL, 2.4-fold) and inner nuclear layer (INL, 1.5-fold) thickness and a general improvement of the retinal structure. In addition, we also observed an increase in the expression of several genes involved in important regenerative pathways, including: synaptogenic markers (DLG1, NRXN1, GAP43); glutamate receptor subunits (NR1 and GRIK4); pro-survival factors (BDNF, Bcl-2 and TNF-R2); and Notch signaling proteins (Notch1 and Hes5). Interestingly, Müller cell transdifferentiation markers (Sox2 and FGF2) were upregulated by this long-term chronic GH treatment. These results are consistent with a significant increase in the number of BrdU-positive cells observed in the KA-damaged retina, which was induced by GH administration. Our data suggest that GH is able to facilitate the early proliferative response of the injured retina and enhance the regeneration of neurite interconnections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Protective and Restorative Effects of Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 on Methadone-Induced Toxicity In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3627; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113627 - 17 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Evidence to date suggests that opioids such as methadone may be associated with cognitive impairment. Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are suggested to be neuroprotective and procognitive in the brain and may therefore counteract these effects. This study aims to [...] Read more.
Evidence to date suggests that opioids such as methadone may be associated with cognitive impairment. Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are suggested to be neuroprotective and procognitive in the brain and may therefore counteract these effects. This study aims to explore the protective and restorative effects of GH and IGF-1 in methadone-treated cell cultures. Primary cortical cell cultures were harvested from rat fetuses and grown for seven days in vitro. To examine the protective effects, methadone was co-treated with or without GH or IGF-1 for three consecutive days. To examine the restorative effects, methadone was added for the first 24 h, washed, and later treated with GH or IGF-1 for 48 h. At the end of each experiment, mitochondrial function and membrane integrity were evaluated. The results revealed that GH had protective effects in the membrane integrity assay and that both GH and IGF-1 effectively recovered mitochondrial function and membrane integrity in cells pretreated with methadone. The overall conclusion of the present study is that GH, but not IGF-1, protects primary cortical cells against methadone-induced toxicity, and that both GH and IGF-1 have a restorative effect on cells pretreated with methadone. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Impact of Pituitary Autoimmunity and Genetic Disorders on Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children and Adults
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041392 - 19 Feb 2020
Abstract
Growth hormone (GH), mostly through its peripheral mediator, the insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF1), in addition to carrying out its fundamental action to promote linear bone growth, plays an important role throughout life in the regulation of intermediate metabolism, trophism and function of various [...] Read more.
Growth hormone (GH), mostly through its peripheral mediator, the insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF1), in addition to carrying out its fundamental action to promote linear bone growth, plays an important role throughout life in the regulation of intermediate metabolism, trophism and function of various organs, especially the cardiovascular, muscular and skeletal systems. Therefore, if a prepubertal GH secretory deficiency (GHD) is responsible for short stature, then a deficiency in adulthood identifies a nosographic picture classified as adult GHD syndrome, which is characterized by heart, muscle, bone, metabolic and psychic abnormalities. A GHD may occur in patients with pituitary autoimmunity; moreover, GHD may also be one of the features of some genetic syndromes in association with other neurological, somatic and immune alterations. This review will discuss the impact of pituitary autoimmunity on GHD and the occurrence of GHD in the context of some genetic disorders. Moreover, we will discuss some genetic alterations that cause GH and IGF-1 insensitivity and the arguments in favor and against the influence of GH/IGF-1 on longevity and cancer in the light of the papers on these issues that so far appear in the literature. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Growth and Maturation in Development: A Fly’s Perspective
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041260 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In mammals like humans, adult fitness is improved due to resource allocation, investing energy in the developmental growth process during the juvenile period, and in reproduction at the adult stage. Therefore, the attainment of their target body height/size co-occurs with the acquisition of [...] Read more.
In mammals like humans, adult fitness is improved due to resource allocation, investing energy in the developmental growth process during the juvenile period, and in reproduction at the adult stage. Therefore, the attainment of their target body height/size co-occurs with the acquisition of maturation, implying a need for coordination between mechanisms that regulate organismal growth and maturation timing. Insects like Drosophila melanogaster also define their adult body size by the end of the juvenile larval period. Recent studies in the fly have shown evolutionary conservation of the regulatory pathways controlling growth and maturation, suggesting the existence of common coordinator mechanisms between them. In this review, we will present an overview of the significant advancements in the coordination mechanisms ensuring developmental robustness in Drosophila. We will include (i) the characterization of feedback mechanisms between maturation and growth hormones, (ii) the recognition of a relaxin-like peptide Dilp8 as a central processor coordinating juvenile regeneration and time of maturation, and (iii) the identification of a novel coordinator mechanism involving the AstA/KISS system. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Electrophysiologic Effects of Growth Hormone Post-Myocardial Infarction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030918 - 30 Jan 2020
Abstract
Myocardial infarction remains a major health-related problem with significant acute and long-term consequences. Acute coronary occlusion results in marked electrophysiologic alterations that can induce ventricular tachyarrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, often heralding sudden cardiac death. During the infarct-healing stage, hemodynamic [...] Read more.
Myocardial infarction remains a major health-related problem with significant acute and long-term consequences. Acute coronary occlusion results in marked electrophysiologic alterations that can induce ventricular tachyarrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, often heralding sudden cardiac death. During the infarct-healing stage, hemodynamic and structural changes can lead to left ventricular dilatation and dysfunction, whereas the accompanying fibrosis forms the substrate for re-entrant circuits that can sustain ventricular tachyarrhythmias. A substantial proportion of such patients present clinically with overt heart failure, a common disease-entity associated with high morbidity and mortality. Several lines of evidence point toward a key role of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis in the pathophysiology of post-infarction structural and electrophysiologic remodeling. Based on this rationale, experimental studies in animal models have demonstrated attenuated dilatation and improved systolic function after growth hormone administration. In addition to ameliorating wall-stress and preserving the peri-infarct myocardium, antiarrhythmic actions were also evident after such treatment, but the precise underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. The present article summarizes the acute and chronic actions of systemic and local growth hormone administration in the post-infarction setting, placing emphasis on the electrophysiologic effects. Experimental and clinical data are reviewed, and hypotheses on potential mechanisms of action are discussed. Such information may prove useful in formulating new research questions and designing new studies that are expected to increase the translational value of growth hormone therapy after acute myocardial infarction. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Mini Review/Commentary: Growth Hormone Treatment in Children with Type 1 Diabetes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030772 - 12 Feb 2019
Abstract
In the state of insulin deficiency, the growth hormone—insulin-like growth factor-I (GH–IGF-I) axis is altered due to hepatic GH resistance, which leads to GH hypersecretion and low circulating IGF-I concentration. On the other hand, both growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and GH excess have [...] Read more.
In the state of insulin deficiency, the growth hormone—insulin-like growth factor-I (GH–IGF-I) axis is altered due to hepatic GH resistance, which leads to GH hypersecretion and low circulating IGF-I concentration. On the other hand, both growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and GH excess have significant influence on carbohydrate metabolism. These complex interactions are challenging in diagnosing GHD in subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and in treating subjects with T1DM with GH. So far, there is only limited clinical experience in GH treatment in patients with T1DM, but recently first reports on metabolic safety and efficacy of GH treatment in subjects with T1DM have been published. Full article
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