High-dose growth hormone treatment of short children born small for gestational age

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 May;81(5):1887-92. doi: 10.1210/jcem.81.5.8626853.


The effect of GH administration was evaluated over 2 yr in 50 short, prepubertal, non-GH deficient children born small for gestational age, who had been randomly allocated to a group receiving no treatment or daily sc GH treatment at a dose of 0.2 or 0.3 IU/kg. At the start of the study, mean age was 5.2 yr, bone age was 4.0 yr, height SDS was -3.5, height velocity SDS was -0.8, weight SDS was -2.7, and body mass index SDS was -1.9. Catch-up growth was observed in none of the untreated and all of the treated children. The response to GH treatment included a near doubling of growth velocity and of weight gain and a mean height increment of more than 2 SDS. GH treatment was associated with a distinct acceleration of bone maturation. The differences between the growth responses evoked by the two GH doses were minor. The prepubertal GH-induced catch-up growth was associated with elevated serum concentrations of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-I, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3, and osteocalcin, whereas insulin-like growth factor-II levels remained unaltered. GH treatment was well tolerated. In conclusion, high-dose GH administration over 2 yr is emerging as a potential therapy to increase the short stature that results from insufficient catch-up growth in young children born small for gestational age. The long-term impact of this approach remains to be delineated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Body Height
  • Child, Preschool
  • Growth Disorders / blood
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Growth Disorders / physiopathology
  • Growth Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Growth Hormone / adverse effects
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Weight Gain


  • Insulin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Osteocalcin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Growth Hormone