• growth hormone receptor;
  • human immune cell lines;
  • leukemia

The potential effect of growth hormone (GH) in tumorigenesis, particularly in acute leukemia is controversial. Human growth hormone has the ability to influence certain immune functions; the majority of immune cells express growth hormone receptor (GHR) on plasma membranes. We determined GHR gene expression on different human lymphocyte (JURKAT, CESS) and monocyte (U937, THP1) cell lines by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis of GHR mRNA after stimulating the cells with phytohaemagglutinin or phorbolester, human growth hormone and with a combination of these. The receptor gene expression showed differences; in the U937 and CESS cell lines only the stimulants were able to induce GHR mRNA expression; in the case of JURKAT cells even the hormone alone had the ability to express its own receptor gene. Both the increased TNF-α production of U937 (but not that of THP1 cells), and the decreased proliferation of JURKAT cells in response to GH stimuli also prove the presence of biologically active GHR on the cell surface. Our data suggest asymmetric interaction between GH or phorbolester-induced signal pathways in U937 cells sharply depending on the temporal sequence of treatments. THP1 monocytes showed no gene expression in response to any of the stimulants. The phenomenon that certain human lymphoid and monocytoid cell lines at different levels of cell differentiation are able to express the GH receptor gene could have importance in the rhGH therapy.