Background & aims: Growth hormone (GH) is used as therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but the specific effects on intestine are unknown. Transgenic mice overexpressing GH (MT1-bGH-TG) were used to test whether increased plasma GH levels alter inflammation or crypt damage during dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis.
Methods: MT1-bGH-TG and wild-type (WT) littermates were given 3% DSS for 5 days followed by up to 10 days of recovery. Colitis and epithelial cell proliferation were evaluated histologically. Plasma insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and colonic IGF-I, interleukin (IL)-1beta, and intestinal trefoil factor (ITF) messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were measured.
Results: DSS induced similar disease onset in MT1-bGH-TG and WT. More MT1-bGH-TG survived than WT. By recovery day 7, MT1-bGH-TG had less inflammation and crypt damage, elevated plasma IGF-I, and increased colonic ITF expression relative to WT. Colonic IL-1beta was elevated in DSS-treated MT1-bGH-TG and WT, but IL-1beta mRNA abundance correlated with disease only in WT. MT1-bGH-TG showed earlier increases in epithelial cell proliferation than WT during recovery but only WT showed atypical repair.
Conclusions: GH does not alter susceptibility to acute DSS-induced colitis but enhances survival, remission of inflammation, and mucosal repair during recovery. GH therapy may be beneficial during active IBD by improving mucosal repair.