Effects of Growth Hormone Administration in Human Obesity


Endocrine Research Unit, 5–194 Joseph, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail: jensen.michael@mayo.edu


Objective: To summarize the reports in the literature regarding the effect of growth hormone (GH) treatment of obesity.

Research Methods and Procedures: Clinical trials of GH treatment of obese adults were reviewed and summarized. Specifically, information regarding the effects of GH on body fat and body fat distribution, glucose tolerance/insulin resistance, and adverse consequences of treatment were recorded.

Results: GH administered together with hypocaloric diets did not enhance fat loss or preserve lean tissue mass. No studies provided strong evidence for an independent beneficial effect of GH on visceral adiposity. In all but one study, glucose tolerance during GH treatment suffered relative to placebo.

Conclusion: The bulk of studies indicate little or no beneficial effects of GH treatment of obesity despite the low serum GH concentrations associated with obesity.