Growth Hormone Alters Circulating Levels of Glycine and Hydroxyproline in Mice

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Growth hormone (GH) has established effects on protein metabolism, such as increasing protein synthesis and decreasing amino acid degradation, but its effects on circulating amino acid levels are less studied. To investigate this relationship, metabolomic analyses were used to measure amino acid concentrations in plasma and feces of mice with alterations to the GH axis, namely bovine GH transgenic (bGH; increased GH action) and GH receptor knockout (GHRKO; GH resistant) mice. To determine the effects of acute GH treatment, GH-injected GH knockout (GHKO) mice were used to measure serum glycine. Furthermore, liver gene expression of glycine metabolism genes was assessed in bGH, GHRKO, and GH-injected GHKO mice. bGH mice had significantly decreased plasma glycine and increased hydroxyproline in both sexes, while GHRKO mice had increased plasma glycine in both sexes and decreased hydroxyproline in males. Glycine synthesis gene expression was decreased in bGH mice (Shmt1 in females and Shmt2 in males) and increased in GHRKO mice (Shmt2 in males). Acute GH treatment of GHKO mice caused decreased liver Shmt1 and Shmt2 expression and decreased serum glycine. In conclusion, GH alters circulating glycine and hydroxyproline levels in opposing directions, with the glycine changes at least partially driven by decreased glycine synthesis.