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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Jul;82(7):2076-83.

Multiple endocrine abnormalities of the growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor axis in prepubertal children with exogenous obesity: effect of short- and long-term weight reduction.

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Department of Pediatrics, Autonomous University, Hospital of Niño Jesús, Madrid, Spain.


We have studied the GH-insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis in prepubertal children with exogenous obesity at the time of clinical diagnosis and at two time points during weight reduction on a calorie-restricted diet. Spontaneous GH secretion, IGF-I, free IGF-I (fIGF-I), IGF-II, their binding proteins (IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, and IGFBP-3), and GH-binding protein (GHBP) values at the time of clinical diagnosis (n = 65), after a 25% decrease in the body mass index (BMI) expressed as the SD score (BMI SD score; n = 29), and after a diminution of at least 50% of the initial BMI SD score (n = 9) are reported. GH secretion was significantly reduced at diagnosis, and after a decrease of at least 25% in the initial BMI SD score, it returned to normal in all patients. Total IGF-I levels were not significantly different from those in controls at any point. In contrast, fIGF-1 and IGF-II levels were significantly increased, both at diagnosis and after BMI SD score reduction. Obese patients were hyperinsulinemic at diagnosis and remained so even after a 50% reduction of their BMI SD score. Serum IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 levels were significantly decreased at diagnosis and at the two points studied during weight reduction. Serum IGFBP-3 and GHBP levels were increased significantly at diagnosis and returned to normal levels after a reduction in the BMI SD score. A positive correlation between serum GHBP levels and BMI was found in both controls and obese patients. Serum IGFBP-3 levels correlated positively with IGF-I, fIGF-I, and IGF-II in all groups, but these correlations were weaker in the obese patients at diagnosis. IGFBP-2 correlated significantly with IGF-II only in the obese group at diagnosis (r = -0.760; P < 0.0001), but with fIGF-I in all groups. IGFBP-1 was negatively correlated with IGF-I and fIGF-I in all groups. In conclusion, the GH-IGF axis is dramatically altered in patients with exogenous obesity. However, most changes in the peripheral IGF system appear to be independent of the modifications in GH secretion. In addition, in contrast to current thought, not all of the observed abnormalities are reversed with a significant reduction in the BMI SD score.

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