GH is an important regulator of body growth and composition as well as numerous other metabolic processes. In particular, liver plays a key role in the GH/IGF-I axis, because the majority of circulating "endocrine" IGF-I results from GH-stimulated liver IGF-I production. To develop a better understanding of the role of liver in the overall function of GH, we generated a strain of mice with liver-specific GH receptor (GHR) gene knockout (LiGHRKO mice). LiGHRKO mice had a 90% decrease in circulating IGF-I levels, a 300% increase in circulating GH, and significant changes in IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-1, IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-5, and IGFBP-7. LiGHRKO mice were smaller than controls, with body length and body weight being significantly decreased in both sexes. Analysis of body composition over time revealed a pattern similar to those found in GH transgenic mice; that is, LiGHRKO mice had a higher percentage of body fat at early ages followed by lower percentage of body fat in adulthood. Local IGF-I mRNA levels were significantly increased in skeletal muscle and select adipose tissue depots. Grip strength was increased in LiGHRKO mice. Finally, circulating levels of leptin, resistin, and adiponectin were increased in LiGHRKO mice. In conclusion, LiGHRKO mice are smaller despite increased local mRNA expression of IGF-I in several tissues, suggesting that liver-derived IGF-I is indeed important for normal body growth. Furthermore, our data suggest that novel GH-dependent cross talk between liver and adipose is important for regulation of adipokines in vivo.