Local non-pituitary growth hormone is induced with aging and facilitates epithelial damage

Cell Rep. 2021 Dec 14;37(11):110068. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.110068.


Microenvironmental factors modulating age-related DNA damage are unclear. Non-pituitary growth hormone (npGH) is induced in human colon, non-transformed human colon cells, and fibroblasts, and in 3-dimensional intestinal organoids with age-associated DNA damage. Autocrine/paracrine npGH suppresses p53 and attenuates DNA damage response (DDR) by inducing TRIM29 and reducing ATM phosphorylation, leading to reduced DNA repair and DNA damage accumulation. Organoids cultured up to 4 months exhibit aging markers, p16, and SA-β-galactosidase and decreased telomere length, as well as DNA damage accumulation, with increased npGH, suppressed p53, and attenuated DDR. Suppressing GH in aged organoids increases p53 and decreases DNA damage. WT mice exhibit age-dependent colon DNA damage accumulation, while in aged mice devoid of colon GH signaling, DNA damage remains low, with elevated p53. As age-associated npGH induction enables a pro-proliferative microenvironment, abrogating npGH signaling could be targeted as anti-aging therapy by impeding DNA damage and age-related pathologies.

Keywords: 3-dimensional human intestinal organoids; DNA damage response; DNA repair; growth hormone; growth hormone receptor knockout mice; human colon epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology*
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Signal Transduction


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • somatotropin-binding protein