Author(s): Ballinger AB, Azooz O, ElHaj T, Poole S, Farthing MJ
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Linear growth retardation is a frequent complication of inflammatory bowel disease in children. The precise mechanisms causing growth failure are not known. AIMS: To determine the relative contribution of reduced calorie intake and inflammation to linear growth delay and to determine the effect of inflammation on the hypothalamic-pituitary-growth axis. METHODS: Linear growth was assessed in prepubertal rats with trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid (TNBS) induced colitis, in healthy free feeding controls, and in a pair-fed group (i.e. healthy animals whose daily food intake was matched to the colitic group thereby distinguishing between the effects of undernutrition and inflammation). RESULTS: Changes in length over five days in the TNBS colitis and pair-fed groups were 30\% and 56\%, respectively, of healthy free feeding controls. Linear growth was significantly reduced in the colitic group compared with the pair-fed group. Nutritional supplementation in the colitic group increased weight gain to control values but did not completely reverse the growth deficit. Plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) concentrations were sixfold higher in the colitic group compared with controls. Plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) but not growth hormone (GH) were significantly lower in the colitic compared with the pair-fed group. Administration of IGF-1 to the colitic group increased plasma IGF-1 concentrations and linear growth by approximately 44-60\%. CONCLUSIONS: It seems likely that approximately 30-40\% of linear growth impairment in experimental colitis occurs as a direct result of the inflammatory process which is independent of undernutrition. Inflammation acts principally at the hepatocyte/IGF-1 level to impair linear growth. Optimal growth in intestinal inflammation may only be achieved by a combination of nutritional intervention and anticytokine treatment.
This article was published in Gut
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology