Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Volume 15 Issue 4 Page 202 - August 2005
Growth hormone and connective tissue in exercise
S. Doessing, M. Kjaer

Over the last few years, growth hormone (GH) has become increasingly popular as doping within different sports. However, the precise mechanisms behind the ergogenic (performance enhancing) effects of GH in athletes are still being debated. Besides a well-documented stimulatory effect of GH on carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism, and a possible anabolic effect on myofibrillar muscle protein, we suggest a role for GH as an anabolic agent in connective tissue in human skeletal muscle and tendon. Given the importance of the connective tissue for the function of skeletal muscle and tendon, a strengthening effect of GH on connective tissue could fit with the ergogenic effect of GH experienced by athletes.

This review examines the endogenous secretion of GH and its mediators in relation to exercise. Furthermore, we consider the effect of endogenous GH and administered recombinant human GH (rhGH) on both myofibrillar and connective tissue protein synthesis, thus offering an alternative explanation for the ergogenic effect of GH. Finally, we suggest a possible therapeutic role for rhGH in clinical management of the frequently suffered injuries in the connective tissue.

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