Recombinant human growth hormone increases thyroid hormone-binding sites in recovering severely burned children

Cara M. Connolly, Robert E. Barrow, David L. Chinkes, Jose A. Martinez, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Thyroxine (T4), Tri-iodothyronine (T3), and total serum protein levels are reduced in severely burned children. T4 and T3 are carried oh serum transport proteins via thyroid hormone-binding sites (THBS). Treatment of burns with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) increases albumin (Alb) and prealbumin (PreAlb), which bind nearly 30% of circulating T4 and T3. This study investigated the effect of rhGH on THBS sites in burned children. Records of 11 acutely burned children with a total body surface area burned >40% who were randomized to either a daily subcutaneous injection of rhGH at 0.05 mg/kg/day or placebo for 6 months after discharge from hospital were reviewed. Thyroxine uptake percentage (TU%), Total T4 levels (TT4), free thyroxine index, Alb and PreAlb, and height and weight measurements taken at discharge and 6 months later were compared in both groups. In the six children who received rhGH, mean TU% had decreased from 41 ± 1 to 33 ± 1% by 6 months postdischarge, (P < 0.001), mean TT4 increased from 5.8 ± 0.3 to 8.1 ± 0.6 pg/dL, (P < 0.02), mean Alb increased from 2.0 ± (0.6) to 3.5 ± (0.1) g/dL (P < 0.0001), and mean PreAlb increased from 8.7 ± 0.7 to 16.5 ± 2.1 mg/dL, (P < 0.006). There were no significant changes in the five children in the placebo (control group), and height and weight did not significantly change in either group. rhGH significantly increases THBS in severely burned children, possibly through increases in serum Alb and PreAlb. The increases in circulating thyroxine observed in this group may be involved in the attenuation of growth arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-403
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Albumin
  • Burns
  • Growth hormone
  • Prealbumin
  • Thyroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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