The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

Genetic and Epigenetic Modulation of Growth Hormone Sensitivity Studied With the IGF-1 Generation Test.

PMID 25835289


Like all hormones, GH has variable physiological effects across people. Many of these effects initiated by the binding of GH to its receptor (GHR) in target tissues are mediated by the expression of the IGF1 gene. Genetic as well as epigenetic variation is known to contribute to the individual diversity of GH-dependent phenotypes through two mechanisms. The first one is the genetic polymorphism of the GHR gene due to the common deletion of exon 3. The second, more recently reported, is the epigenetic variation in the methylation of a cluster of CGs dinucleotides located within the proximal part of the P2 promoter of the IGF-1 (IGF1) gene, notably CG-137. The current study evaluates the relative contribution of these two factors controlling individual GH sensitivity by measuring the response of serum IGF-1 to a GH injection (IGF-1 generation test) in a sample of 72 children with idiopathic short stature. Although the d3 polymorphism of the GHR contributed 19% to the variance of the IGF-1 response, CG-137 methylation in the IGF-1 promoter contributed 30%, the combined contribution of the two factors totaling 43%. Our observation indicates that genetic and epigenetic variation at the GHR and IGF-1 loci play a major role as independent modulators of individual GH sensitivity.