The molecular basis and biochemical mediators of genetic growth propensity and adult height achievement in the general population are largely unknown. Pygmies represent one extreme of the height spectrum that may provide important clues regarding this issue. Previous studies in pygmies from Africa and Papua-New Guinea have shown decreased serum levels of growth hormone binding protein (GHBP), the circulating ectodomain of the growth hormone receptor (GHR). By inference, a similar limitation in tissue GHR expression has been assumed to be responsible for the partial growth hormone (GH) resistance observed in African pygmies. It is not clear how generalizable this concept is to other populations. To address this question, we studied two pygmy populations from the Philippines (Aeta and Mamanwa people) that are unrelated to the African pygmies. Serum GHBP and IGF-I levels were significantly decreased in both pygmy populations, compared to normal-statured Philippino controls. The results, together with previous observations in African and New Guinean pygmies, indicate that short stature is associated with low serum GHBP levels in pygmy populations of diverse origins and in different parts of the world. This strengthens the tentative postulate that the GHBP/GHR system plays an important role in the genetic and perhaps nutritional determination of adult stature in humans. Molecular genetic studies of the GHR gene in various pygmy populations may shed further light on the mystery of pygmy short stature.
- Growth hormone binding protein
- Growth hormone receptor
- Short stature
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism