Objectives: To determine whether serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF binding protein (IGFBP) concentrations are different between African American and white girls.
Study design: Serum glucose and hormone concentrations were measured in blood samples collected after a 12-hour fast from 79 white and 57 African American healthy girls between 9 and 17 years of age. Tanner stages of pubic hair development were evaluated by physical examination, and body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Results: The African American girls were older and sexually more mature and had higher fat mass, higher serum insulin and free IGF-I concentrations, higher serum free IGF-I to total IGF-I ratio, but lower serum IGFBP-1 concentrations than the white girls. After controlling for sexual maturation and fat mass, the serum concentrations of total IGF-I, bound IGF-I, and IGFBP-3 in the white girls became significantly higher than those in the African American girls. The higher concentrations of total IGF-I in the white girls were due to a proportional increase in the concentrations of bound IGF-I that coincided with a similar increase in serum IGFBP-3 concentrations.
Conclusions: Higher serum insulin concentrations in the African American girls are associated with lower serum IGFBP-1 concentrations and increased bioavailability of free IGF-I, which may contribute to their accelerated growth compared with their white counterparts.