Combined growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) treatment is more effective than GH or IGF-I alone at enhancing recovery from neonatal malnutrition in rats

X. Zhao, S. M. Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


The effect of hormonal therapy on enhancing recovery from neonatal malnutrition was assessed in rats. Malnutrition was induced by maternal food restriction (60% control intake) during lactation. On d 16 postpartum, restricted pups were refed by cross-fostering to control dams and were subcutaneously administered growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor- I (IGF-I), GH + IGF-I or saline. At d 21, pups were weaned and continued hormonal treatments until d 39 postpartum. By d 39, body weight of GH (96% control) and GH + IGF-I- (98%) treated animals were normal, whereas IGF-I (88%) and saline- (85%) treated animals were still stunted. Hormone effectiveness was age dependent, with growth rates of GH + IGF-I-, IGF-I- and GH-treated pups being greatest between d 16 and 30, d 16 and 21 and after d 30, respectively. Protein accretion by d 39 was higher (P < 0.01) in GH and GH + IGF-I groups than saline- or IGF-I-treated groups. On d 39, serum IGF-I concentrations were as follows: GH + IGF-I > IGF-I > GH = saline (placebo), indicating that an elevated serum IGF-I was not required for GH-stimulated growth. Of the three hormonal treatments, GH + IGF-I therapy was most efficacious at promoting rapid and complete body weight recovery and supporting lean body mass accretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2773-2786
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995



  • growth hormone
  • insulin-like growth factor
  • protein energy malnutrition
  • rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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