The aim of this article is to present a historical review on giants and dwarves living in South America and the contribution of South America's researchers to scientific advances on growth hormone (GH) and human disorders related to GH excess and GH deficiency (GHD). We went back in time to investigate facts and myths stemming from countless reports of giants who lived in the Patagonia region, focusing on what is currently known about gigantism in South America. Additionally, we have reviewed the exceptional work carried out in two of the world's largest cohorts of dwarfism related to GH-IGF axis: one living in Itabaianinha, Brazil, suffering from severe GHD due to a mutation in the GHRH receptor (GHRHR) gene, and the other living in El Oro and Loja provinces of Ecuador, who are carriers of GH receptor gene mutation that causes total GH insensitivity (Laron syndrome). Importantly, we present an overview of the outstanding medical contribution of Jose Dantas de Souza Leite, a Brazilian physician that described the first cases of acromegaly, and Bernardo Alberto Houssay, an Argentine researcher graced with the Nobel Prize, who was one the first scientists to establish a link between GH and glucose metabolism.

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Growth Hormone & I G F Research
Department of Internal Medicine

Boguszewski, C.L. (Cesar Luiz), Boguszewski, M., & de Herder, W. (2020). From dwarves to giants: South American's contribution to the history of growth hormone and related disorders. Growth Hormone & I G F Research, 50, 48–56. doi:10.1016/j.ghir.2019.11.004