Background: Idiopathic premature adrenarche (PA) in girls refers to the presence of androgenic signs before the age of 8 years in the absence of thelarche. Increased adrenal androgens lead to changes in body composition and transient growth acceleration without effecting final height. Although the association between PA and some components of the metabolic syndrome is well known, total body fat and body composition analysis are not widely studied.
Subjects and methods: We examined 38 girls with new-onset PA and 64 age-matched controls. For PA group the inclusion criteria were the appearance of pubic/axillary hair before 8 years of age, the absence of central puberty and absence of any long-term medication. Steroidogenic enzyme defects and virilizing tumors were excluded by hormonal studies and by adrenal ultrasonography. The control group was built from healthy female volunteers of first-second grades of an elementary school from the same district. Height, weight, waist circumference (WC), and hip circumference (HC) were measured. Body composition analysis was executed by bioelectrical impedance method.
Results: Median ages were 7.44 years in PA group and 6.78 years in controls (P=0.065). In PA group, both weightSDS and heightSDS were significantly higher than controls (P<0.001 for both). Although WC was found similar between groups (median 60.5 vs 57 cm in PA group and controls, P=0.101), median HC was higher in PA group (69 vs 64 cm, P=0.003). While fat percentage was significantly increased in PA group (median 23.05 vs 20.3%, P=0.010), fat free mass percentage was significantly decreased (median 77.0 vs 79.5%, P=0.017).
Conclusion: Our findings confirm that PA causes acceleration in body weight and longitudinal growth and significant changes in body composition. The increase in body weight is more prominent in total body fat percentage with a concomitant decrease in fat free mass percentage.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology