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From Dallas, Pennsylvania, USA:

What relationship exists between the use or overuse of growth hormone and the onset of type 1 diabetes? How important is the monitoring of the blood sugar levels during the use of growth hormone?


I have to assume that your question refers to a child who is known to have type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes on the basis of a positive antibody test and who has been receiving Human Growth Hormone treatment for a long standing problem of short stature. If this is the case, then the complication of growth hormone treatment does not really increase the level of glucose testing needed for effective blood glucose control of the diabetes.

However, there are a number of mechanisms whereby the administration of growth hormone might have accelerated the process of autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the prediabetic or early clinical diabetes phase. In the first place, growth hormone might have led to some increase in serum insulin levels with a corresponding decrease in cell insulin receptors, in turn leading to an impairment of the very complicated signalling mechanism that receptor binding initiates. In addition to this, the presence of anti-GAD as part of the autoimmune process might have decreased somatostatin production which in turn might have led to an increased Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone and thus to an increase in production of any residual growth hormone.

This is rather a complex cascade of events, I'm afraid, and in the end, I doubt if the administered growth hormone had very much impact on the development of the diabetes.


Original posting 8 May 2002
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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