Somatotropic function: the somatomedin hypothesis revisited.

Terry D. Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The discovery in 1922 that an alkaline extract of the anterior pituitary can increase growth and change carcass composition of rats led to the discovery of growth hormone (somatotropin, ST). Since the early studies, much has been learned about the biological effects of ST. The advent of recombinant DNA technology has led to the commercial development of ST-based products for animal agriculture. Administration of porcine ST (pST) at maximally effective doses (approximately 100 microg x kg BW(-1) x d(-1)) to growing pigs for 30 to 77 d increases average daily gain approximately 10 to 20%, improves productive efficiency (i.e., the ratio of body weight gain to feed consumed) 13 to 33%, decreases lipid accretion rates by as much as approximately 80%, and stimulates protein deposition (muscle growth) by as much as 70%. These responses are associated with a decrease in feed intake of approximately 10 to 15%. The effects of ST are mediated directly and indirectly. The indirect effects of ST are mediated by the somatomedin (insulin-like growth factor-I). The discovery of somatomedin led to the introduction of the somatomedin hypothesis, which explained the basis of ST action. Since the discovery of the somatomedins, there have been several modifications of the hypothesis developed to accommodate the evolution in understanding of how ST and IGF-I affect a diverse array of biological events. This review will summarize the history of ST and the evolution of the somatomedin hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume82 E-Suppl
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Somatotropic function: the somatomedin hypothesis revisited.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this