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Disease Profile

Growth hormone insensitivity with immunodeficiency

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Growth hormone insensitivity due to postreceptor defect; Laron syndrome due to postreceptor defect


Congenital and Genetic Diseases


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 181393

Growth hormone insensitivity syndrome (GHIS) is a group of diseases characterized by marked short stature associated with normal or elevated growth hormone (GH) concentrations, which fail to respond to exogenous GH administration. GHIS comprises growth delay due to IGF-1 deficiency, growth delay due to IGF-1 resistance, Laron syndrome, short stature due to STAT5b deficiency and primary acid-labile subunit (ALS) deficiency (see these terms).

A few cases of IGF-1 deficiency, IGF-1 resistance, STAT5B and ALS deficiencies, and more than 250 cases of Laron syndrome have been reported in the literature so far. Males and females are equally affected.

Clinical description
Intrauterine growth and birth size are usually subnormal. Postnatal growth is slowed. Facial dysmorphism is common and includes microcephaly, thin upper and everted lower lips and small chin. Disproportional growth, delayed motor development and delayed puberty have been described in some cases and relative obesity may occur in young adults. Intellectual development varies from normal intelligence to intellectual deficiency. Despite sharing short stature and the classical biochemical features of GH insensitivity, affected individuals present heterogeneous clinical features depending on the genetic condition. Immune deficiency has been described in some cases of STAT5b deficiency. Hearing loss has been described in some cases of IGF-1 deficiency.

GHIS is due to mutations in the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene (Laron syndrome) or to post receptor defects due to mutations in the IGF-1 (IGF-1 deficiency and IGF-1 resistance), IGFALS (short stature due to primary ALS deficiency) or STAT5B genes (STAT5b deficiency). Transmission is autosomal recessive.

Diagnostic methods
The diagnosis is based on clinical and biological findings. Hormonal tests reveal normal or high serum concentrations of GH. IGF-1 and growth hormone binding protein (GHBP) levels depend on the disease-causing mutations. IGF-1 levels are low in cases ofGHR defects, STAT5b, IGF-1 and ALS deficiencies, and high in cases of IGF-1 resistance. GHBP levels are low in cases of mutations in the extracellular domain of GHR and normal in cases of mutations in the intracellular domain of GHR or post receptor defects. IGF-BP 3 levels are low in cases of GHR, STAT5b, and ALS deficiencies, normal in cases of IGF-1 deficiency. ALS levels are low in cases of ALS deficiencies. Genetic tests should be performed to make a precise etiological diagnosis.

Differential diagnosis
The differential diagnosis should include secondary IGF-1 deficiency due to nutritional problems or chronic pediatric diseases.

Genetic counseling
Genetic counseling should be proposed to parents of an affected individual before any further pregnancy, informing them of the risks and the available diagnostic methods.

Management and treatment
Management aims at improving growth and, except for IGF-1 resistance, includes treatment with daily subcutaneous injections of mecasermin, a recombinant human IGF-1, and diet with adequate caloric intake. In August 2005, mecasermin was granted EC orphan drug designation. Growth hormone treatment may partially improve growth in cases of IGF-1 resistance. There is no treatment that cures or prevents the disease.

With age, osteoporosis can become apparent. Patients may develop obesity, hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and even type II diabetes.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Abnormal facial shape
Unusual facial appearance
Everted lower lip vermilion
Drooping lower lip
Outward turned lower lip

[ more ]

Failure to thrive
Faltering weight
Weight faltering

[ more ]

Elevated serum cholesterol
Elevated total cholesterol
Increased total cholesterol

[ more ]

Insulin resistance
Body fails to respond to insulin
Abnormally small skull
Decreased circumference of cranium
Decreased size of skull
Reduced head circumference
Small head circumference

[ more ]

Short stature
Decreased body height
Small stature

[ more ]

30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Delayed eruption of teeth
Delayed eruption
Delayed teeth eruption
Delayed tooth eruption
Eruption, delayed
Late eruption of teeth
Late tooth eruption

[ more ]

Delayed skeletal maturation
Delayed bone maturation
Delayed skeletal development

[ more ]

Fine hair
Fine hair shaft
Fine hair texture
Thin hair shaft
Thin hair texture

[ more ]

Low blood sugar
Hypoplasia of penis
Underdeveloped penis
Type II diabetes mellitus
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Type II diabetes

[ more ]

5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Abnormality of the nail
Diabetes insipidus
Hearing impairment
Hearing defect

[ more ]

High pitched voice
Decreased activity of gonads
Decreased immune function
Intellectual disability
Mental deficiency
Mental retardation
Mental retardation, nonspecific

[ more ]

Large fontanelles
Wide fontanelles
Truncal obesity
1%-4% of people have these symptoms
Concave nasal ridge
Boxer's nasal deformity
Boxer's nose deformity
Saddle nose
Ski jump nose

[ more ]

Growth hormone deficiency
Lymphoid interstitial pneumonia
Prominent forehead
Pronounced forehead
Protruding forehead

[ more ]

Respiratory distress
Breathing difficulties
Difficulty breathing

[ more ]

Severe short stature
Proportionate dwarfism
Short stature, severe

[ more ]

Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.


    FDA-Approved Treatments

    The medication(s) listed below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as orphan products for treatment of this condition. Learn more orphan products.

    • Mecasermin(Brand name: Increlex®) Manufactured by Tercica, Inc.
      FDA-approved indication: Long-term treatment of growth failure in children with severe primary IGF-1 deficiency (Primary IGFD) or with growth hormone (GH) gene deletion who have developed neutralizing antibodies to growth hormone.
      National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
    • Mecasermin rinfabate(Brand name: Iplex®) Manufactured by Insmed, Inc.
      FDA-approved indication: Treatment of growth failure in children with severe primary IGF-1 deficiency (Primary IGFD) or with growth hormone (GH) gene deletion who have developed neutralizing antibodies to growth hormone
      National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Organizations Providing General Support

        Learn more

        These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

        In-Depth Information

        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Growth hormone insensitivity with immunodeficiency. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.