Endocrinology Journal Article

A Body Weight Sensor Regulates Prepubertal Growth

June 14, 2021
 

John-Olov Jansson, Adria Dalmau Gasull, Erik Schéle, Suzanne L Dickson, Vilborg Palsdottir, Anders Palmquist, Ferran Font Gironès, Jakob Bellman, Fredrik Anesten, Daniel Hägg, Claes Ohlsson
Endocrinology, Volume 162, Issue 6, June 2021, bqab053
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqab053

Abstract

In healthy conditions, prepubertal growth follows an individual specific growth channel. Growth hormone (GH) is undoubtedly the major regulator of growth. However, the homeostatic regulation to maintain the individual specific growth channel during growth is unclear. We recently hypothesized a body weight sensing homeostatic regulation of body weight during adulthood, the gravitostat. We now investigated if sensing of body weight also contributes to the strict homeostatic regulation to maintain the individual specific growth channel during prepubertal growth. To evaluate the effect of increased artificial loading on prepubertal growth, we implanted heavy (20% of body weight) or light (2% of the body weight) capsules into the abdomen of 26-day-old male rats. The body growth, as determined by change in biological body weight and growth of the long bones and the axial skeleton, was reduced in rats bearing a heavy load compared with light load. Removal of the increased load resulted in a catch-up growth and a normalization of body weight. Loading decreased hypothalamic growth hormone releasing hormone mRNA, liver insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 mRNA, and serum IGF-1, suggesting that the reduced body growth was caused by a negative feedback regulation on the somatotropic axis and this notion was supported by the fact that increased loading did not reduce body growth in GH-treated rats. Based on these data, we propose the gravitostat hypothesis for the regulation of prepubertal growth. This states that there is a homeostatic regulation to maintain the individual specific growth channel via body weight sensing, regulating the somatotropic axis and explaining catch-up growth.

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