The Regulatory Effect of Hormones and Growth Factors on the Pubertal Growth Spurt

Moshe Phillip, Liora Lazar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Puberty is the only period during extrauterine life when the linear growth rate accelerates. This pubertal growth spurt has been attributed to the timely and concomitant increase in sex steroids, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). Estrogen is apparently the principal hormone stimulating the growth spurt in both boys and girls. It influences linear bone growth both indirectly, by modulating the pulsatile GH release from the pituitary gland, and directly, by local action at the epiphyseal growth plate. Its activities are mediated by the estrogen receptors. New data indicate that other growth factors and hormones also act directly on the epiphyseal growth plate and could be involved in pubertal growth. Testosterone increases the local production of IGF-I and IGF-I receptors in growth plate chondrocytes. Indian hedgehog (Ihh) and parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) regulate the differentiation of the epiphyseal chondrocytes, and leptin acts as skeletal growth factor by stimulating local IGF-I receptor expression in the epiphyseal growth plate. The interaction among these components and their relationship with the local hormonal and growth factor milieu in the epiphyseal growth plate determines the timing and magnitude of the growth spurt. This review describes the changes in systemic hormonal and local growth factor that occur during the pubertal growth spurt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Growth factors
  • Growth hormone
  • Growth spurt
  • Sex steroid


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