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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989 Jun;68(6):1086-90.

Circadian variation of thyrotropin in childhood.

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Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


We evaluated the circadian variation of serum TSH in 96 normal children, aged 5-18 yr. Blood samples were obtained hourly for 24 h, and serum TSH was measured using an immunoradiometric assay with a sensitivity of 0.2 mU/L and an intraassay coefficient of variation of 4.9%. The nadir serum TSH value, defined by the three consecutive hourly TSH concentrations having the lowest mean, occurred between 1000 and 1900 h, while the peak TSH value, defined by the three consecutive hourly TSH concentrations having the greatest mean, occurred between 2100 and 0600 h. The mean nadir serum TSH was 1.6 +/- 0.1 mU/L, and the mean peak TSH was 3.7 +/- 0.2 mU/L. The mean nocturnal TSH surge (percent increase in TSH from nadir to peak) was 144% (95% confidence limits, 50-300%) and did not correlate with serum T4, free T4, or T3 concentrations. Seventy-six children were given TRH (7 micrograms/kg). The mean peak serum TSH after TRH was 16.0 +/- 1.1 mU/L (95% confidence limits, 9.0-42.0 mU/L), and it occurred by 30 min after TRH administration in 92% of the children. The absolute peak nocturnal serum TSH and peak post-TRH serum TSH values correlated significantly (r = 0.62; P less than 0.001), while age, gender, and pubertal status did not correlate with either the nocturnal TSH surge or the TSH response to TRH. We conclude that normal children have a circadian variation of serum TSH characterized by a nocturnal TSH surge, and that the peak of serum TSH, which occurs at night, correlates with the peak serum TSH level after TRH administration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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