Growth hormone, somatomedin and prolactin--relationship to brain function

Brain Dev. 1985;7(6):559-67. doi: 10.1016/s0387-7604(85)80001-2.


In recent years it has been found that the brain of several mammals including have receptors for somatomedin both IGF-I and II and measurable hGH has been identified in human brain tissue. IGF-II has been determined in CSF. The presence of these hormones in brain tissue seems to be of developmental and functional importance as experimental studies in frogs, tadpoles and rats showed that injection of growth hormone enhanced brain growth and increased the ratio of neurons to glia. In man early initiation of hGH therapy to children with hGH (who have a less than normal head circumference) induced a fast catch-up growth of the head and improved their IQ. The data available seems to indicate that growth hormones and/or the somatomedins play an important role in the early brain development, maturation and function. In case of hereditary or congenital GH-RH, hGH or somatomedin deficiency, the effectiveness of therapy seems age limited similar to hypothyroidism. The finding of prolactin receptors in human brain and the report of a child with congenital hypoprolactinemia who had mild mental retardation raises the possibility that also prolactin plays a role in brain function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary
  • Growth Hormone / analysis
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Growth Hormone / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / analysis
  • Prolactin / pharmacology
  • Prolactin / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis
  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Somatomedins / deficiency
  • Somatomedins / physiology*
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone


  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Somatomedins
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Prolactin
  • Growth Hormone