A product of the anterior part of the PITUITARY GLAND that promotes normal growth and development in the body by changing the chemical activity in the cells. The hormone activates protein production in the muscle cells as well as the release of energy from the metabolism of fats. Its release is controlled by the contrasting actions of growth-hormone releasing factor and somatostatin. If the body produces too much growth hormone before puberty GIGANTISM results; in adulthood the result is ACROMEGALY. Lack of growth hormone in children retards growth.
For many years growth hormone was extracted from human corpses and very rarely this caused CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE (CJD) in the recipients. The hormone is now genetically engineered, so safe.