Influence of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I on kidney function and kidney growth
Decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in hypopituitarism and increased GFR in acromegaly suggest that growth hormone (GH) has a substantial effect on renal haemodynamics. Extractive and recombinant human (rh) GH in healthy volunteers increased effective renal plasma flow (ERPF) and GFR by 10% and 15% respectively. Renal response to GH was delayed and occurred at the same time as an increase in plasma insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I values, whereas infusion of rhIGF-I promptly increased GFR and ERPF, indicating that the haemodynamic response of the kidney to GH is mediated by IGF-I. In chronic renal failure (CRF), the acute effect of GH on GFR is obliterated. This might protect the diseased kidney against the undesired consequences of hyperfiltration. Indeed, rhGH treatment for 1 year in children with CRF did not lead to an accelerated decline in GFR compared with the year before treatment. GH and IGF-I also affect renal growth. Exposure to excessive GH in transgenic mice causes renomegaly and progressive glomerular sclerosis. In acromegalic humans, increased renal size and weight and increased glomerular diameter are well known, whereas renal failure is not a long-term hazard. At least in normal and hypophysectomized rats treated with doses comparable with the therapeutic regimens used in stunted children, rhGH increased renal weight but in proportion to the increase in body weight indicating an isometric effect of GH on renal growth. From these data, major renal long-term side effects of rhGH treatment in children with CRF appear unlikely.