Growth hormone (GH), brain development and neural stem cells

Queensland Brain Institute and Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia 4072.
Pediatric endocrinology reviews: PER 12/2011; 9(2):549-53.
Source: PubMed


A range of observations support a role for GH in development and function of the brain. These include altered brain structure in GH receptor null mice, and impaired cognition in GH deficient rodents and in a subgroup of GH receptor defective patients (Laron dwarfs). GH has been shown to alter neurogenesis, myelin synthesis and dendritic branching, and both the GH receptor and GH itself are expressed widely in the brain. We have found a population of neural stem cells which are activated by GH infusion, and which give rise to neurons in mice. These stem cells are activated by voluntary exercise in a GH-dependent manner. Given the findings that local synthesis of GH occurs in the hippocampus in response to a memory task, and that GH replacement improves memory and cognition in rodents and humans, these new observations warrant a reappraisal of the clinical importance of GH replacement in GH deficient states.

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    • "In summary, we demonstrated here that GH therapy added to neurorehabilitation may play a significant role in the recovery of cognitive functions after brain damage, even though the patient is non-GHD. This agrees with previous postulates from our group and others[18,19,38,39,43]; however, since it is difficult to define what percentage of the positive effects shown here are due to GH administration or to the neurorehabilitation performed or both, a controlled trial will be necessary to produce stronger results in favor of GH plus neurorehabilitation treatment, as this is only a case report without any controls other than the patient. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background-To describe the results obtained after treating a non growth hormone-deficient 10-year-old girl who suffered asphyxia during delivery, resulting in important cognitive deficits, with growth hormone (GH) and neurorehabilitation. Methods-GH was administered (mg/day) at doses of 0.5 over three months followed by 0.9, every two weeks over three months, and then alternating 1.2 three days/week and 0.3 two days/week. Neurorehabilitation consisted of daily sessions of neurostimulation, speech therapy, occupational therapy and auditive stimulation. Treatment lasted nine months. Results-Scores obtained in all the areas treated showed that, at discharge, the patient clearly increased her cognitive abilities, memory and language competence index; her intelligence quotient score increased from 51 to 80, and the index of functional independence measure reached a value of 120 over 126 (maximal value). Conclusions-This case suggests that GH administration may play a role in improving cognitive deficits during neurorehabilitation in children with brain damage suffered during delivery. This agrees with the known effects of GH on cognition.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Clinical Medicine
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    • "Endocrinol . (2014), neurons in mice (Waters and Blackmore, 2011). A number of reports have shown that GH administration following injury confers neuroprotection and accelerates the recovery of some neural functions and may play a role in brain repair (Arce et al., 2013; Devesa et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that growth hormone (GH) expression is not confined exclusively to the pituitary somatotrophs as it is synthesized in many extrapituitary locations. The nervous system is one of those extrapituitary sites. In this brief review we summarize data that substantiate the expression, distribution and characterization of neural GH and detail its roles in neural function, including cellular growth, proliferation, differentiation, neuroprotection and survival, as well as its functional roles in behavior, cognition and neurotransmission. Although systemic GH may exert some of these effects, it is increasingly evident that locally expressed neural GH, acting through intracrine, autocrine or paracrine mechanisms, may also be causally involved as a neurotrophic factor.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · General and Comparative Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Stem cells maintain their self-renewal and multipotency capacities through a self-organizing network of transcription factors and intracellular pathways activated by extracellular signaling from the microenvironment or "niche" in which they reside in vivo. In the adult mammalian brain new neurons continue to be generated throughout life of the organisms and this lifelong process of neurogenesis is supported by a reservoir of neural stem cells in the germinal regions. The discovery of the lifelong neurogenesis in the mammalian adult brain has sparked great interest in defining the conditions that guide neural stem cell (NSC) maintenance and differentiation into the great variety of neuronal and glial subtypes. Here we review current knowledge regarding the paracrine regulation provided by the components of the niche and its function, focusing on the main germinal region of the adult central nervous system (CNS), the subependymal zone (SEZ).
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
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