Girls with Premature Adrenarche Have Accelerated Early Childhood Growth

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effect of premature adrenarche (PA) on prepubertal growth.

Study design

The prepubertal growth of 54 girls with PA and 52 control girls was analyzed retrospectively. Birth measures were noted, and childhood length/height and weight were measured annually until age 5 years and at the current visit (at a median age of 7.6 years). The growth variables were correlated with serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and insulin concentrations.

Results

There were no significant differences in birth length or weight standard deviation scores (SDSs) between the 2 study groups. The girls with PA demonstrated a significant length SDS increment during the first 2 years of life (median +1.0 SDS;P< .001). Compared with controls, they were taller (median current height 1.2 vs 0 SDS;P< .001) and gained more weight throughout childhood. The difference in weight-for-height became significant at a later age compared with the difference in height. Median serum IGF-1 concentration adjusted for both age and body mass index SDS was higher in the PA group (24 vs 19 nmol/L;P< .031).

Conclusions

PA was not associated with small birth size in our population. Girls with PA had enhanced growth already in early childhood, which was not explained by weight gain. Enhanced IGF-1 production may contribute to the prepubertal growth acceleration in PA.

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