Background: In some studies, prepubertal children born small for gestational age (SGA) have had a higher prevalence of premature pubarche and higher serum DHEAS concentrations than children born appropriate for gestational age (AGA). The overall metabolic risk associated with birth weight is U-shaped, but it is not known if children born large for gestational age (LGA) have elevated serum DHEAS levels.
Objective and hypotheses: The aim of this study was to examine the association between birth size, especially large, and serum DHEAS concentrations.
Methods: A cohort of 49 LGA, 56 AGA, and 23 SGA children were studied at 58 years of age. Anthropometric data at birth, at the age of 2 years, and at examination were recorded. Fasting blood samples were collected for serum analyses of DHEAS, IGF1, and insulin concentrations. Childrens physical activity was assessed with a survey. Differences in serum DHEAS concentrations between the three groups were analysed by ANCOVA and predictors of serum DHEAS levels were explored by linear regression analysis.
Results: The LGA children had lower BMI-SDS-adjusted serum DHEAS levels than the AGA or SGA children. Lower birth weight SDS, higher weight gain during the first two years, and higher BMI-SDS at examination predicted higher serum DHEAS concentrations. Higher serum IGF1 but not insulin, and overall physical activity were also associated with higher DHEAS.
Conclusions: The association of birth weight with childhood serum DHEAS concentration is more linear than U-shaped. However, early catch-up growth and childhood weight are even stronger determinants of serum DHEAS levels than birth weight. IGF-1 may be a mediator in this process.
10 - 12 Sep 2016
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology