What is the role of thyroid hormone in the pathophysiology of hyposomatotropism (growth hormone deficiency [GHD])?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Thyroid hormone is essential for postnatal growth. Growth failure, which may be profound, is the most common and prominent manifestation of hypothyroidism. The interrelationships between the thyroid and the pituitary-GH-IGF axis are complex and not yet fully defined. Hypotheses include a direct effect of thyroid hormone on the growth of epiphyseal cartilage and a permissive effect on GH secretion. Proof of the permissive effect on GH secretion derives from studies revealing that spontaneous GH secretion is decreased and that the response to provocative GH testing is blunted in patients with hypothyroidism.

In addition, growth velocity is markedly decreased among rhGH-treated patients with GHD and hypothyroidism until thyroid hormone replacement is begun. Downregulation of GH receptors and decreased production of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 have been reported in the hypothyroid state. An unexplained relationship exists between the treatment of patients with GHD by using rhGH and the development and unmasking of hypothyroidism.

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