Effect of growth hormone (GH) on the immune system

Cristina Meazza, Sara Pagani, Paola Travaglino, Mauro Bozzola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing body of evidence indicates a bi-directional relationship between the neuroendocrine system and immune functions. It is well known that lymphoid organs such the thymus, the spleen and peripheral blood produce growth hormone (GH) and GH receptor is expressed on different subpopulations of lymphocytes. Many in vitro and in animal studies demonstrate an important role of GH in immunoregulation. GH stimulates T and B cells proliferation and immunoglobulin synthesis, enhances the maturation of myeloid progenitor cells and is also able to modulate cytokine response. However, in humans GH deficiency (GHD) is not usually associated with immunodeficiency and only minor abnormalities of immune function have been reported, as compared to those observed in GHD animals. It is possible that in humans the GH produced locally in the immune system compensates for the lack of endocrine GH. In this review the main actions of GH on the immune system in vitro, in animal models and in humans are summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-495
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Endocrinology Reviews
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Cytokines
  • Growth hormone
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Immune system
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Lymphocyte proliferation
  • Neuroendocrine system
  • Short children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of growth hormone (GH) on the immune system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this