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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-73

Physiological mechanisms underlying catch-up growth

1 Department of Physiology, Gian Sagar Medical College, Rajpura, India
2 Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, India
3 Department of Orthodontics, Surendra Dental College, Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, India
4 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Surendra Dental College, Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Sharat Gupta
Hno# 849, SST Nagar, Rajpura Road, Patiala - 147 001, Punjab
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.123372

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Linear growth is impaired by a variety of systemic illnesses. However, on remission, body growth usually normalizes or even accelerates beyond the normal rate for age, a phenomenon commonly known as catch-up growth. Until date, the exact mechanisms underlying this unique phenomenon are unclear. However, two possible mechanisms have been put forward to explain it. One theory postulates a central mechanism, which compares the target and actual body sizes and accordingly makes corrective adjustments in body growth. However, the second mechanism, which provides a newer explanation for this phenomenon, states that growth restricting illnesses reduce the proliferation of stem cells, thus conserving their proliferative potential temporarily. As soon as the crisis is over, the stem cell proliferation resumes at an accelerated rate. Further research into the exact mechanisms underlying catch-up growth may prove helpful in discovery of effective strategies for reversing the growth stunting in children with chronic diseases.

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