Background: Pubertal delay is thought to contribute to suboptimal peak bone mass acquisition in young people with cystic fibrosis (CF), leading to an increased fracture incidence. This study aims to compare pubertal development in young people with CF with that of a local healthy population and assess the influence it has on areal bone mineral density (aBMD).
Methods: Tanner stage, age of menarche, bone age (BA), sex hormone levels and aBMD were examined in 85 individuals with CF (aged 5.3-18.1 years, 39 females) and 100 local controls (5.6-17.9 years, 54 females).
Results: Tanner stage and age of menarche were not significantly different between controls and CF. Tanner stage-adjusted mean values for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone (T) were lower in males with CF (FSH: P = 0.004, LH: P = 0.01 and T: P = 0.002). Bone age was delayed in adolescents with CF compared to controls (chronological age-BA: controls = 0.13 years (SE = 0.16), CF = 0.95 years (SE = 0.22), P = 0.003). Areal bone mineral density (adjusted for age, sex, height and lean tissue mass) was not significantly different between CF and controls. Moderate negative correlations were found between delayed BA and weight (r = -0.41, P < 0.001) and height (r = -0.41, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: There was no evidence of clinical pubertal delay or low aBMD (adjusted for short stature and lean tissue mass) in young people with CF when compared with a local population, despite lower nutritional markers, height and weight and delayed skeletal maturation.