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Gene Review

GHR  -  growth hormone receptor

Ovis aries

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Disease relevance of GHR


High impact information on GHR

  • Abolition of this cortisol surge by fetal adrenalectomy prevented both the activation of exon 1A expression and the prepartum rise in GHR mRNA derived from the other leader exons in fetal ovine liver [3].
  • Cortisol therefore appears to activate the adult mode of GHR gene expression in fetal ovine liver during late gestation [3].
  • Hepatic GHR mRNA derived from leader exons other than 1A was detectable at 97 days and increased in abundance toward term in parallel with the normal prepartum rise in fetal plasma cortisol [3].
  • Muscle IGF-I, but not GHR, mRNA abundance decreased with increasing gestational age in parallel with the prepartum rise in plasma cortisol [4].
  • GH-R mRNA was localized in the trophectoderm, fetal mesoderm, and maternal uterine stroma [5].

Chemical compound and disease context of GHR

  • In conclusion, the modest increases in circulating cortisol concentrations in IUGR fetuses did not increase hepatic GH-R mRNA expression and, therefore, do not explain the increased circulating IGF-I levels that we found with GH infusion, which are likely due to reduced clearance rather than increased production [1].

Biological context of GHR

  • At least one transcript appears to be expressed in a liver-specific fashion, supporting a role for alternative RNA splicing in the tissue-specific regulation of sheep GH receptor expression [6].
  • We demonstrate tissue-specific regulation of the somatotrophic axis in IUGR fetuses and a discontinuity between GH-R and IGF-I gene expression in GH-infused fetuses that is not explained by alterations in phosphorylated STAT5b [1].
  • We hypothesized a cortisol-induced upregulation of fetal hepatic GH receptor (GH-R) mRNA levels, secondary increases in IGF-I mRNA levels, and circulating IGF-I levels, but a downregulation of the type I IGF receptor (IGF-IR) as an explanation [1].
  • Expression of the adult liver-specific GHR mRNA transcript containing exon 1A was not detected earlier than 138 days of gestation (term 145 +/-2 days) [3].
  • The up-regulation of related GHR proteins during the differentiation of mammary tissue supports the hypothesis that GH may act specifically via its own receptors [7].

Anatomical context of GHR

  • In contrast, in placenta, GH-R, IGF-I, and IGF-IR expression were increased in IUGR vehicle-infused fetuses [1].
  • Hence, using RNase protection assays and ovine riboprobes, expression of the IGF-I and growth hormone receptor (GHR) genes was examined in ovine skeletal muscle during late gestation and after experimental manipulation of fetal plasma cortisol levels by fetal adrenalectomy and exogenous cortisol infusion [4].
  • Immunoprecipitation of detergent-solubilized hepatic microsomal membranes from pregnant and fetal sheep using a panel of monoclonal antibodies raised against the extracellular region of the rabbit GHR showed potent immunological recognition of the [125I]oPL-receptor complexes [8].
  • These findings show that thyroid hormones have an important role in the regulation of hepatic GHR and IGF-I gene expression in fetal sheep during late gestation and suggest that T(3) mediates the maturational effects of cortisol on the hepatic somatotropic axis close to term [9].
  • This is the first report demonstrating the presence of mRNA for GHR in the choroid plexus [10].

Associations of GHR with chemical compounds

  • However, increasing plasma T3 alone by an infusion of T3 for 5 days (8-12 microg x kg(-1) x day(-1) iv) in intact fetuses at this age had no effect on GHR or IGF-I gene expression in skeletal muscle [11].
  • In Expt 2, prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha; 1 mumole) injected into the ovarian artery on day 11 or day 12 of the oestrous cycle had no effect on luteal concentrations of mRNA for either IGF-I or GH-R [12].

Physical interactions of GHR

  • The fact that saturable binding could not be demonstrated for either GH or PRL with fetal liver microsomes contradicts recent suggestions that oPL is binding the GH receptor [13].

Other interactions of GHR

  • GH infusion further increased placental GH-R and IGF-IR, but abolished the increase in IGF-I mRNA levels [1].
  • The present study therefore examined the influence of maternal nutrient restriction (NR), targeted at specific periods of kidney development during early to mid gestation, on the mRNA abundance of receptors for glucocorticoid (GCR), growth hormone (GHR) and insulin-like growth factors-I (IGF-IR) and -II (IGF-IIR), and the IGF-I and -II ligands [14].
  • However, the levels of GHR expression are markedly lower in fetal hepatic tissue compared to postnatal values, and there are conflicting data suggesting that ovine placental lactogen (oPL) and oGH share a common receptor [8].
  • The ontogeny of hepatic growth hormone (GH) receptors (GHR), as measured by responses of both plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and hepatic GHR to an exogenous bGH stimulus, was examined using sheep of different ages (Days 1-7, 14-21, 28-35, and 56-63 of life, and yearlings) [15].
  • Conversely, 6-month-old offspring showed no difference in the abundance of either GH receptor or PRL receptor, while IGF-II mRNA was increased [16].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of GHR


  1. Effect of pulsatile growth hormone administration to the growth-restricted fetal sheep on somatotrophic axis gene expression in fetal and placental tissues. Bloomfield, F.H., van Zijl, P.L., Bauer, M.K., Phua, H.H., Harding, J.E. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. (2006) [Pubmed]
  2. Decreased serum insulin-like growth factor-I associated with growth failure in newborn lambs with experimental cyanotic heart disease. Bernstein, D., Jasper, J.R., Rosenfeld, R.G., Hintz, R.L. J. Clin. Invest. (1992) [Pubmed]
  3. Activation of the adult mode of ovine growth hormone receptor gene expression by cortisol during late fetal development. Li, J., Gilmour, R.S., Saunders, J.C., Dauncey, M.J., Fowden, A.L. FASEB J. (1999) [Pubmed]
  4. Control of growth hormone receptor and insulin-like growth factor-I expression by cortisol in ovine fetal skeletal muscle. Li, J., Forhead, A.J., Dauncey, M.J., Gilmour, R.S., Fowden, A.L. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (2002) [Pubmed]
  5. Expression of growth hormone and its receptor in the placental and feto-maternal environment during early pregnancy in sheep. Lacroix, M.C., Devinoy, E., Cassy, S., Servely, J.L., Vidaud, M., Kann, G. Endocrinology (1999) [Pubmed]
  6. The sheep growth hormone receptor: molecular cloning and ontogeny of mRNA expression in the liver. Adams, T.E., Baker, L., Fiddes, R.J., Brandon, M.R. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. (1990) [Pubmed]
  7. Transduction pathways of GH in ovine mammary acini involving regulated and functional growth hormone receptors. Chun, E.Y., Belair, L., Jolivet, G., Djiane, J., Jammes, H. Growth Factors (2005) [Pubmed]
  8. Characterization of ovine growth hormone (oGH) and ovine placental lactogen (oPL) binding to fetal and adult hepatic tissue in sheep: evidence that oGH and oPL interact with a common receptor. Breier, B.H., Funk, B., Surus, A., Ambler, G.R., Wells, C.A., Waters, M.J., Gluckman, P.D. Endocrinology (1994) [Pubmed]
  9. Control of ovine hepatic growth hormone receptor and insulin-like growth factor I by thyroid hormones in utero. Forhead, A.J., Li, J., Saunders, J.C., Dauncey, M.J., Gilmour, R.S., Fowden, A.L. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. (2000) [Pubmed]
  10. Detection of growth hormone receptor mRNA in an ovine choroid plexus epithelium cell line. Thörnwall, M., Chhajlani, V., Le Grevès, P., Nyberg, F. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1995) [Pubmed]
  11. Thyroid hormones and the mRNA of the GH receptor and IGFs in skeletal muscle of fetal sheep. Forhead, A.J., Li, J., Gilmour, R.S., Dauncey, M.J., Fowden, A.L. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. (2002) [Pubmed]
  12. Effects of luteotrophic and luteolytic hormones on expression of mRNA encoding insulin-like growth factor I and growth hormone receptor in the ovine corpus luteum. Juengel, J.L., Nett, T.M., Anthony, R.V., Niswender, G.D. J. Reprod. Fertil. (1997) [Pubmed]
  13. Ontogeny of a specific high-affinity binding site for ovine placental lactogen in fetal and postnatal liver. Pratt, S.L., Kappes, S.M., Anthony, R.V. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  14. Impact of maternal undernutrition and fetal number on glucocorticoid, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor receptor mRNA abundance in the ovine fetal kidney. Brennan, K.A., Gopalakrishnan, G.S., Kurlak, L., Rhind, S.M., Kyle, C.E., Brooks, A.N., Rae, M.T., Olson, D.M., Stephenson, T., Symonds, M.E. Reproduction (2005) [Pubmed]
  15. Ontogeny of IGF-I responsiveness to bGH in young lambs. Min, S.H., Mackenzie, D.D., Breier, B.H., McCutcheon, S.N., Gluckman, P.D. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  16. Ontogeny and nutritional manipulation of the hepatic prolactin-growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor axis in the ovine fetus and in neonate and juvenile sheep. Hyatt, M.A., Walker, D.A., Stephenson, T., Symonds, M.E. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. (2004) [Pubmed]
  17. Tissue distribution and ontogeny of growth hormone receptor messenger ribonucleic acid and ligand binding to hepatic tissue in the midgestation sheep fetus. Klempt, M., Bingham, B., Breier, B.H., Baumbach, W.R., Gluckman, P.D. Endocrinology (1993) [Pubmed]
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