Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Aug 28. doi: 10.1038/s41366-019-0446-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Early breast development in overweight girls: does estrogen made by adipose tissue play a role?

Author information

1
Clinical Research Branch, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC, USA.
2
Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Division of Laboratory Sciences, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
4
Cytopathology Section, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
5
Clinical Research Branch, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC, USA. Natalie.shaw@nih.gov.
6
Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Natalie.shaw@nih.gov.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Girls who are overweight/obese (OB) develop breast tissue but do not undergo menarche (the first menstrual period) significantly earlier than girls of normal weight (NW). It has been proposed that estrogen synthesized by adipose tissue may be contributory, yet OB do not have higher serum estrogen levels than NW matched on breast stage. We hypothesized that estrogen synthesized locally, in mammary fat, may contribute to breast development. This hypothesis would predict that breast development would be more advanced than other estrogen-sensitive tissues as a function of obesity and body fat.

METHODS:

Eighty premenarchal girls (26 OB, 54 NW), aged 8.2-14.7 years, underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to calculate percent body fat (%BF), Tanner staging of the breast, breast ultrasound for morphological staging, trans-abdominal pelvic ultrasound, hand x-ray (bone age, BA), a blood test for reproductive hormones, and urine collection to determine the vaginal maturation index (VMI), an index of estrogen exposure in urogenital epithelial cells.

RESULTS:

When controlling for breast morphological stage determined by ultrasound, %BF was not associated with serum estrogen or gonadotropin (LH and FSH) levels or with indices of systemic estrogen action (uterine volume, endometrial thickness, BA advancement, and VMI). Tanner breast stage did not correlate with breast morphological stage and led to misclassification of chest fatty tissue as breast tissue in some OB.

CONCLUSIONS:

These studies do not support the hypothesis that estrogen derived from total body fat or local (mammary) fat contributes to breast development in OB girls.

PMID:
31462689
DOI:
10.1038/s41366-019-0446-5

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center