Genetic and environmental causes such as chronic illness, malnutrition, and other pathological conditions can impair children's growth and lead to growth retardation. Usually when the restricting factor is resolved, catch up growth, characterized by a height velocity above the normal statistical limits for age and/or maturity occurs, and brings the child back to its original growth trajectory. However, in many cases, the efficiency of the catch up growth is not sufficient and growth deficits are permanent. As the clinical treatment arsenal is limited, novel therapeutic approaches are required.
Among the environmental regulators of growth attenuation, nutrition is by far the most prevalent, hence we are studying the nutritional-growth link, using young, rapidly growing male rats. Due to the central role that the liver has in the regulation of the growth process (i.e. through the IGF-I system) and as it responds to the changes in nutritional statue very fast, we decided to study the effect of nutritional manipulation on the liver, using systematic high-throughput quantitative proteomic analysis. Our results have implications not only to the linear growth process but also to the connection between nutrition and aging associated disease.