The ability of growth hormone (GH) to influence certain immune functions has been studied in 21 GH-deficient children aged 1.8-17.7 years, before and during therapy with biosynthetic methionyl-hGH (12 IU/m2) injected intramuscularly 3 times weekly. Blood was collected prior to GH treatment, then after 1 week, again at 3-6 months, and finally at 9-12 months of therapy. We studied (1) the distribution of the T lymphocyte subpopulations: T total (CD3), helper/inducer (CD4) and suppressor/cytotoxic (CD8) cells, using monoclonal antibodies (OKT3, OKT4, OKT8) and (2) the in vitro IgM production stimulated by pokweed mitogen. Pretreatment CD3, CD4, CD8 values were within the normal range. They did not change after 1 week of GH therapy. Following 3-6 months of GH treatment, CD3 significantly increased (p <0.001), CD4 decreased (p <0.01), CD8 increased (p <0.001) and the CD4/CD8 ratio decreased (p <0.001). At 9-12 months of therapy, the percentages of the different groups of T cells was not significantly different from the pretreatment values. In vitro IgM production before and following 3-6 months of GH treatment was significantly lower (p <0.005) than that of 15 age-matched controls. At 9-12 months, GH therapy restored the in vitro IgM production. No variations in the levels of serum immunoglobulins were observed throughout the treatment period. These data suggest that GH plays a role in the development of the immune function in children.
- Cell-mediated immunity
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Growth hormone therapy
- Humoral immunity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health