Background: Chronic administration of glucocorticosteroids (GCs) can have significant catabolic effects in vivo in a host of metabolic systems, including amino acid metabolism, skeletal muscle, bone and linear growth. GCs inhibit protein synthesis and increase protein breakdown at the skeletal muscle and whole-body level and impair growth hormone (GH) secretion and action. Conversely, GH and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) are potent protein-anabolic and growth-promoting agents in vitro and in vivo. This review summarizes both the catabolic effects of GCs and the anabolic and metabolic effects of GH and IGF-I.
Conclusions: Both GH and IGF-I may decrease the catabolic effects of chronic steroid use in humans, particularly by enhancing lean body mass accrual and, in children, by increasing linear growth.
Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.