Most scientific reports debate the thymotropic and immuno-stimulating properties of the somatotrope growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)/growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 axis, but there is still some disagreement about the physiological role of this axis in basal conditions. Moreover, some authors have hypothesized that the physiological role of the somatotrope axis only appears in stressful conditions (such as sepsis or infective and inflammatory diseases). This chapter will provide an extended overview of the expression of the components (signals and receptors) of the somatotrope axis and their properties on cells of the innate and adaptive immune system. It will also summarize some clinical studies suggesting a benefit for a short-term GH treatment in acute immunodeficiencies, and the importance of GH supplementation in adult GH deficiency. A new transgenic mouse model, the hypothalamic GHRH-deficient (Ghrh-/-) mouse, which exhibits a severe deficiency of the somatotrope axis, will be presented since it will be of great help in further deciphering the regulation by the GHRH/GH/IGF-1 axis on both immune development and function. Finally, we will discuss the implication of aging-related somatopause in relation to the general context of Immunosenescence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism