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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1987 Jan-Feb;3(1):39-44.

The effect of puberty on the development of early diabetic microvascular disease in insulin-dependent diabetes.


We studied the prevalence of early diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy in 21 prepubertal and 55 late-pubertal subjects with insulin-dependent diabetes (IDD). All subjects had IDD of 5-7 years duration at the time of evaluation. The prevalence of early diabetic retinopathy was significantly greater in the late-pubertal subjects than prepubertal subjects (33% vs. 9.5%, P = 0.05), despite similar glycosylated hemoglobin values between the two groups (11.7 +/- 2.7% vs. 10.1 +/- 1.6%) at the time of evaluation. Nephropathy was infrequent in late-pubertal subjects (9%), and absent in the prepubertal subjects. We hypothesize that puberty plays an important role in the development of microvascular complications of IDD, and that increases in growth factors, sex hormones and deterioration in glycemic control at the time of puberty may each enhance the development of diabetic microvascular disease.

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