Background: Premature adrenarche is associated with overweight and insulin resistance, but the associations of serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) concentration with other cardiometabolic risk factors are uncertain.
Objective and hypotheses: We studied whether cardiometabolic risk factors and their clustering differ between children with higher and lower serum DHEAS concentration.
Method: We studied 432 healthy children (207 girls and 225 boys; age 7.6±0.4 years) participating in the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study. Serum DHEAS concentration was determined by enzyme immunoassay. Children were divided into those with DHEAS <1.0 μmol/l (n=354) and ≧1.0 μmol/l (n=78). Cardiometabolic risk score was calculated summing the Z-scores of waist circumference, fasting serum insulin, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (multiplied by -1) and the mean of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Also total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were measured from fasting plasma samples. Body fat percentage (BF%) and lean mass (LM) were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Differences in cardiometabolic risk factors between the DHEAS groups were studied by general linear models adjusted for age, sex, BF% and LM.
Results: Plasma LDL cholesterol was lower in children with higher serum DHEAS than in those with lower DHEAS adjusted for age and sex (2.25 vs 2.39 mmol/l, P=0.029). Other cardiometabolic risk factors or cardiometabolic risk score did not differ between the DHEAS groups. However, children with higher DHEAS had higher LM than those with lower DHEAS adjusted for age and sex (21.18 vs 20.46 kg, P=0.008). The difference in LDL cholesterol between the DHEAS groups weakened slightly after further adjustment for LM (P=0.040) but remained after additional adjustment for BF% (P=0.017).
Conclusion: Higher serum DHEAS concentration is associated with lower plasma LDL cholesterol concentration in healthy prepubertal children. This relationship may be partly explained by increased skeletal muscle mass.
Funding information: This work was supported by the Foundation for Pediatric Research, Research Committee of Kuopio University Hospital Catchment Area (State Research Funding) and Kuopio University Hospital (EVO funding number 5031343), Finnish Medical Foundation, Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg foundation, Rauha and Jalmari Ahokas foundation.
01 - 03 Oct 2015
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology