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Somatotropic Hormone, GH, hGH, Somatotropin, STH

Growth Hormone

Growth hormone is a protein hormone manufactured in the pituitary, a small gland located at the base of the brain behind the bridge of the nose. This hormone is secreted in a “pulsatile” (burst-like or episodic) manner over the course of the day, with greater secretion at night. GH is essential for a child’s bone growth and normal development. In adults, GH helps control energy production from food (metabolism). It helps synthesize lipids (fats), protein and glucose. Results are expressed in µg/L (micrograms of growth hormone per litre of blood).

Because of the pulsatile secretion, the measurement of isolated levels of growth hormone is usually of little clinical usefulness, and stimulation/suppression tests are required to make a proper diagnosis. Measuring IGF-1 levels is more useful than measuring levels of GH to diagnose a growth hormone deficiency or excess.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.