Plant-produced human growth hormone shows biological activity in a rat model

Biotechnol Prog. Mar-Apr 2009;25(2):530-4. doi: 10.1002/btpr.130.


Plants have been shown to be efficient systems for expressing a wide range of recombinant proteins from various origins. Here, using a plant virus-based expression vector to produce human growth hormone (hGH) in Nicotiana benthamiana plants, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the plant-produced hGH (pphGH) is biologically active in a hypophysectomized rat model. We observed an average weight gain of approximately 17 g per animal in a group of 10 animals that were injected subcutaneously with pphGH with 60 microg/dose for 10 days. With the increasing demand for hGH, accompanied with the need to make this recombinant protein available to a wider population at a more reasonable cost, plants provide a feasible alternative to current production platforms.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Human Growth Hormone / genetics
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism
  • Human Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Tobacco / genetics*
  • Tobacco / metabolism


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone