Local expression of human growth hormone in bone results in impaired mechanical integrity in the skeletal tissue of transgenic mice

J Orthop Res. 1996 Jul;14(4):598-604. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100140414.


The effect of local production of human growth hormone on murine cortical bone was investigated using a transgenic mouse model. Femora and humeri from human growth hormone transgenic mice and littermate control mice were obtained, and the geometrical, biomechanical, compositional, and histomorphometric properties of all specimens were determined. The goals were to investigate the effects of local expression of human growth hormone on skeletal integrity, including the functional geometry of long bone and its related structural and mechanical behavior, as well as tissue composition and integrity. As expected, local production of human growth hormone by osteoblasts indeed resulted in longer femora with significantly greater mid-diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry in the transgenic mice (16% increase in cross-sectional area and 29% increase in bending moments of inertia). However, the significant increase in geometry was not associated with a proportional increase in bending stiffness and other structural properties, which suggested that the mechanical properties of the cortical bone tissue may have been inferior. Microspecimen bending tests verified this prediction, given that transgenic cortical bone tissue had significantly lower apparent elastic modulus and ultimate strength (52 and 68%, respectively, of control values). These defects in the whole bone structural and tissue mechanical properties of transgenic specimens were associated with a smaller fraction of ash, larger fractions of woven bone and cartilage islands, and greater porosity in the mid-diaphyseal cortices. These results suggest that local production of human growth hormone by osteoblasts is indeed anabolic for bone, but at the expense of bone tissue integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Bone Development / drug effects*
  • Femur / drug effects*
  • Femur / physiology
  • Growth Hormone / biosynthesis
  • Growth Hormone / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Growth Hormone