- The effect of upper airway loading on longitudinal bone growth and various components of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) axis has not been fully elucidated. In the present study, the effect of chronic resistive airway loading (CAL) in a prepubescent rat model on linear bone growth and weight gain was investigated. We hypothesize that CAL induced in prepubescent rats will lead to impaired longitudinal growth due to impairment in circulating and liver GH/IGF-I parameters. The tracheae of 22-day-old rats were obstructed by tracheal banding to increase inspiratory esophageal pressure. The GH/IGF-I markers were analyzed using ELISA, RT-PCR, and Western immunoblot analysis 14 days after surgery. Animals exhibited impaired longitudinal growth as demonstrated by reduction of tibia and tail length gains by 40% (P < 0.0001) and body weight gain by 24% (P < 0.0001). No differences were seen in total body energy balance, i.e., oxygen consumption, daily food intake, or arterial blood gases. Circulating GH, IGF-I, and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) levels were reduced by 40% (P = 0.037), 30% (P < 0.006), and 27% (P = 0.02), respectively, in the CAL group. Liver IGF-I mRNA level decreased by 20% (P < 0.0002), whereas GH receptor mRNA and protein expression were unchanged. We conclude that impaired longitudinal growth in prepubescent CAL rats is related to a decrease in GH, IGF-I, and IGFBP-3 levels.