Growth Hormones: Endogenous & Exogenous

Somatotropin is the endogenous or naturally produced hormone, synthesized in the pituitary gland of the body, in accordance with the Hypothalamus.  This growth hormone is responsible for stimulation of Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).  These hormones together lead to growth and development of the human body right from the childhood till a person reaches his late thirties. It is a peptide hormone involved in cellular rejuvenation and regeneration. It even induces lengthening of bones and development of other body parts.

There are several hormonal tests done to know the normalcy of body functioning. One such test is somatotropin hormone test, in which thelevels of growth hormone is analyzed in the blood. This signifies the optimum production intensities and problems if any. It tells if a person needs growth hormone replacement therapy or not.

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Functions of Growth hormones

Somatotropin is 191 amino acid long peptide hormone secreted by somatotrophs (cellular structures located in the anterior part of Pituitary). It directly binds to the cognate receptors in the target cell and initiates a cascade of reactions. There are growth hormone receptors on the adipose tissue, so when this peptide hormone reaches those tissues, it stimulates the breakdown of fat into triglycerides, even decrease lipid storage and uptake. When it acts via IGF-1, the main effects is in the growth and development of bone and muscles. This hormone can show its effect on the neuroendocrine system, musculoskeletal system, and metabolism of the human body.

Somatropin is the synthetic analog of the naturally produced growth hormone, which is majorly applied in Recombinant growth hormone replacement therapy. This method is used to cure patients with growth hormone deficiencies or malfunction in children and now even in the treatment of adults. This growth failure occurs because of damage to the pituitary. This damage can be caused by some injury or tumor formation in the brain. This hormone is manufactured using recombinant DNA technology. Other than being used in medical treatment of children, this has been used in many non-medical purposes especially bodybuilding by enthusiastic athletes and figure-craving bodybuilders. However, this practice is discouraged by sports communities and medical organizations.

Some of the other functions of Somatropin are enhanced bone density and strength (reducing the probability of acquiring osteoporosis), enlarges muscle mass and size (but causes no effect on the function or virility), potentially augments endurance and stamina for better exercise cycles, without many breaks in-between.

Health risks and Side-effects of Growth Hormone

There needs to be set the balance in the body regarding the functioning of any hormone. Though endogenous Growth Hormone seldom causes any side-effects, but if the dosage is extremely high, then chances of experiencing adverse effects increases. High levels can cause enlargement of body organs or gigantism. Low levels may lead to dwarfism.

Other common side-effects are severe pain in the nerves and joints, swelling of the muscles and even edema. Extreme cases could lead to acromegaly (disorientation of hands and feet, facial features getting distorted due to rampant cell growth and connective tissue flaws).

Somatotropin hormone test is an important tool to understand the underlying problem of many different diseases and how to address it based on the report. Whether or not a person should take hormonal therapy is entirely dependent on the test. Always consult your doctor in any such cases.