The effect of growth hormone on gut mucosal homeostasis and cellular mediators after severe trauma

Marc G. Jeschke, David N. Herndon, Celeste C. Finnerty, Ullrich Bolder, James C. Thompson, Ulla Mueller, Steven E. Wolf, Rene Przkora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background. Gut mucosal integrity and function is impaired after severe trauma with associated increases in small bowel epithelial cell apoptosis and decreases in cell proliferation. Growth hormone improves gastrointestinal function during chemotherapy and has anabolic effects on protein synthesis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether growth hormone can improve small bowel homeostasis after injury and by which cellular mechanisms these changes occur. Materials and methods. Rats were pair-fed, given a thermal trauma, and received saline (n = 28) or GH (2.5 mg/kg every 24 h, n = 28). Small intestine and serum were taken at 1, 2, 5, and 7 days after injury. Measures were mucosal apoptosis, proliferation, villous morphology, apoptotic, and proliferative mediators, such as Caspases-3, -8, Fas and Fas-Ligand, Bcl-2, and Bcl-x. In addition serum cytokines were determined. Results. Gut epithelial cell apoptosis and proliferation were increased in both groups after the thermal injury (P < 0.05). GH had neither an effect on small bowel epithelial cell apoptosis or proliferation, nor dependent cellular mediators after thermal injury. However, GH significantly improved villous morphology (height and cell number) when compared with controls (P < 0.05). RhGH was found to significantly increase serum TNF-α compared to controls (P < 0.05). Conclusion. Growth hormone improves small bowel homeostasis after severe trauma independent from small bowel epithelial cell apoptosis or proliferation, probably by increasing the life span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Burns
  • Growth factors
  • Gut
  • Proliferation
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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