Longitudinal bone growth is a tightly regulated process that relies on complex synchronized mechanisms at the growth plate. Chronic paediatric inflammatory diseases are well accepted to lead to growth retardation and this is likely due to raised inflammatory cytokine levels and reduced growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) signalling. The precise cellular mechanisms responsible for this inhibition are unclear and therefore in this article, we will review the potential interactions between inflammatory cytokines and the GH/IGF-1 axis in the regulation of bone growth. In particular, we will emphasis the potential contribution of the Suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins, and in particular SOCS2, in mediating this process. Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.