Dissociation of body growth and adipose deposition effects of growth hormone in oMt1a-oGH transgenic mice

A. M. Oberbauer, C. Stiglich, J. D. Murray, Carl L Keen, D. L. Fong, L. B. Smith, S. Cushwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Chronic highly elevated expression of a growth hormone (GH) transgene enhances overall body growth with minimal adipose accretion, while moderate levels of circulating GH fail to enhance body growth yet promote adipose deposition. These findings suggest that the growth response to GH can be dissociated from adipose effects. This hypothesis was tested in the oMt1a-oGH transgenic mouse model by titrating circulating GH levels through variable induction of transgene expression. Circulating GH levels in female transgenics were ∼ 49, 132, and 750 ng/ml in response to the transgene stimulus at 0, 15, and 25 mM zinc sulfate, respectively. The highest level of circulating GH generated the largest body weight with the smallest fat accrual while the intermediate GH level generated a body weight equivalent to that for the highest GH but the heaviest gonadal fat pads. The lowest GH levels did not increase body size but did enlarge fat depots. Animals exposed to the highest level of GH had an extended growth phase relative to lower GH levels and the nontransgenic controls. In contrast, the duration of the growth phase for the 0 and 15 mM zinc stimulated transgenics was abbreviated relative to the growth phase of the control animals. The two highest levels of circulating GH increased all forms of the GH receptor, IGF-I, and hepatic lipoprotein lipase mRNA. The growth differential observed for the 0 vs. the 15 mM zinc stimulated transgenics may reflect the preferential increase in the full length GH receptor mRNA and the induction of the smaller IGF-I transcripts with the higher circulating GH while the lipid accrual paralleled the disproportionate induction of the truncated GH receptor mRNA form. Liver and bone content of zinc, manganese, copper, and iron primarily reflected dietary zinc supplementation and did not appear to play a role in the differential growth response. The dissociation of GH effects on growth and adipogenesis as a function of circulating GH levels suggests that the level of GHR and IGF-I expression acts through a threshold mechanism and low expression results in adipogenesis while high expression generates body growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
JournalGrowth, Development and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Adipose
  • GHR
  • Growth hormone
  • IGF-I
  • Mouse
  • Transgenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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