Approximately eight years have passed since human growth hormone was demonstrated to be metabolically active in humans. Consequently, this is an opportune time to recapitulate and re-evaluate the significance of growth hormone as it applies to experimental and clinical pediatrics.
The most extensive investigation of this scarce protein of pituitary origin has been the study of its growth-promoting effect. In hypopituitary dwarfs growth hormone has been effective for periods as long as five years. In the first few months of therapy linear growth may be accelerated six or seven times the rate observed during the pretreatment period. While the effectiveness of the hormone gradually wanes, it continues to produce growth at two to three times the nontherapy rate in children after five years of constant therapy. Untoward side effects have not developed and the only hindrance to therapy has been the extreme scarcity of the growth hormone. The amount and