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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Jun 26;32(6):561-568. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2018-0519.

Association between mild hyperthyrotropinemia and hypercholesterolemia in children with severe obesity.

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Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Background Severe obesity is associated with a number of cardiometabolic risk factors. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are often slightly increased in children with obesity. The clinical significance of the mild elevation in TSH in children with obesity is unclear. Objective To examine the association between TSH and lipids in children with severe obesity. Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of records of children with severe obesity with simultaneous measurements of TSH and lipids. Children with TSH <0.3 mIU/L and ≥10 mIU/L were excluded. The relationship between TSH and lipids was evaluated using univariate/multiple variable linear and logistic regression. Results The study included 834 children (age 13.8 ± 4.1 years, males 46%, body mass index [BMI]: 36.9 ± 7.6 kg/m2; BMI z-score 2.6 ± 0.4). Seventy-four (8.9%) children had TSH between 5 and <10 mIU/L (high TSH [HTSH]). TSH was positively associated with non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (β: 1.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.29-3.20, p = 0.02). Total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol were higher in males with HTSH compared to those with normal TSH (175.5 vs. 163.5 mg/dL, p = 0.02 and 133.7 vs. 121.4 mg/dL, p = 0.02, respectively). The odds of elevated non-HDL cholesterol (≥145 mg/dL) was higher in males with HTSH relative to those with normal TSH (odds ratio [OR]: 2.78; 95% CI 1.35-5.69, p = 0.005). Conclusions TSH levels were positively associated with non-HDL cholesterol in children with severe obesity. Males with mildly elevated TSH had higher total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol compared to males with normal TSH. Further studies are warranted to determine if levothyroxine therapy would result in improvement in total cholesterol or non-HDL cholesterol in children with severe obesity with mildly elevated TSH.


children; cholesterol; hyperthyrotropinemia; severe obesity; thyroid-stimulating hormone


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