A history of growth hormone

Horm Res. 1996;46(4-5):236-47. doi: 10.1159/000185029.


After the debacle of Brown-Séquard testicular extracts, hormone replacement therapy proper began in 1891 with the use of sheep thyroid extract to treat myxoedema. The second success in the field was "bovine' insulin to treat human diabetes in 1992. In contrast, the first successful use of growth hormone in a human pituitary dwarf did not come until 1958. Growth hormone preparations of reasonable purity had been made in the 1920s and were shown to be effective in rats and dogs, but the need for primate growth hormone in primates was not recognised until the late 1940s.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / history
  • Growth Hormone / history*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Human Growth Hormone / adverse effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / history*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Growth Hormone