The traditionally accepted theory has been that most of the biological effects of growth hormone (GH) are mediated by circulating (endocrine) insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). This dogma was modified when it was discovered that most tissues express IGF-I that can act via an autocrine/paracrine fashion. In addition, both GH and IGF-I had independent effects on various target tissues. Using tissue-specific gene deletion of IGF-I in the liver, it has been shown that circulating IGF-I is predominantly liver-derived but is not essential for normal postnatal growth. Therefore, it is proposed that non-hepatic tissue-derived IGF-I may be sufficient for growth and development. Thus the original somatomedin hypothesis has undergone further modifications.