Growth Hormone and Obesity

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2020 Jun;49(2):239-250. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2020.02.009. Epub 2020 Apr 16.


Growth hormone (GH) exerts IGF-I dependent protein anabolic and direct lipolytic effects. Obesity reversibly suppresses GH secretion driven by elevated FFA levels, whereas serum IGF-I levels remain normal or elevated due to elevated portal insulin levels. Fasting in lean individuals suppresses hepatic IGF-I production and increases pituitary GH release, but this pattern is less pronounced in obesity. Fasting in obesity is associated with increased sensitivity to the insulin-antagonistic effects of GH. GH treatment in obesity induces a moderate reduction in fat mass and an increase in lean body mass but the therapeutic potential is uncertain.

Keywords: Growth hormone; Insulin-like growth factor I; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Human Growth Hormone / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*


  • IGF1 protein, human
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I