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There is substantial evidence that the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system is involved in the pathophysiology of obesity. Both GH and IGF-I have direct effects on adipocyte proliferation and differentiation, and this system is involved in the cross-talk between adipose tissue, liver, and pituitary. Transgenic animal models have been of importance in identifying mechanisms underlying these interactions. It emerges that this system has key roles in visceral adiposity, and there is a rationale for targeting this system in the treatment of visceral obesity associated with GH deficiency, metabolic syndrome, and lipodystrophies. This evidence is reviewed, gaps in knowledge are highlighted, and recommendations are made for future research.
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