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J Pediatr. 1989 Jul;115(1):64-8.

Growth hormone deficiency impedes the rise in plasma insulin-like growth factor I levels associated with precocious puberty.

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Department of Pediatrics, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago.


We tested the hypothesis that growth hormone (GH) mediates the rise in insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations in children with precocious puberty. We studied three groups of patients. Group 1 included six children with GH deficiency and precocious puberty (precocious GH-deficient); group 2 included 10 GH-sufficient patients with idiopathic true precocious puberty (precocious GH-sufficient); and group 3 included 9 prepubertal children with GH deficiency (prepubertal GH-deficient). Growth rates, pubertal status, and plasma IGF-I concentrations were determined at regular intervals. The precocious children with GH deficiency had a mean (+/- SD) growth rate of 7.2 +/- 2.1 significantly below that of the precocious GH-sufficient patients (10.5 +/- 2.5 cm/yr, p less than 0.05) but above that of the prepubertal GH-deficient children (3.9 +/- 1.4 cm/yr, p less than 0.05). The mean IGF-I concentration in the precocious GH-deficient children was 0.77 +/- 0.39 U/ml, significantly lower than the mean level of 2.2 +/- 0.67 U/ml in the precocious GH-sufficient patients (p less than 0.01). However, precocious GH-deficient patients had significantly higher IGF-I values than the prepubertal GH-deficient children (0.24 +/- 0.10 U/ml, p less than 0.05). IGF-I values did not rise with the onset of precocious puberty in four of the precocious GH-deficient children evaluated before and after the development of precocious puberty. However, three patients who began GH treatment did have a rise in plasma IGF-I concentrations to levels of 1.2, 3.4, and 3.7 U/ml, respectively. These findings are compatible with the concept that sex steroids increase IGF-I levels in precocious puberty primarily by increasing GH production. A small but direct effect of sex steroids on IGF-I production may also exist. The onset of precocious puberty in children with organic GH deficiency may mask the abnormal growth pattern of these children and delay diagnosis; determinations of plasma IGF-I concentrations may be helpful in assessing the GH status of these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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