Increased oxidative stress in prepubertal children born small for gestational age

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr;92(4):1372-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-1344. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


Context: Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in adulthood. The development of insulin resistance (IR) seems to play a pivotal role; no data on the oxidant-antioxidant status are available in this risk group.

Objective: This study is an assessment of oxidant-antioxidant status in prepubertal children born small for gestational age (SGA) in comparison to healthy controls and the relationship to IR.

Design: This cross-sectional study compares indexes of IR and oxidant-antioxidant status in three different groups (SGA+, SGA-, controls), with analysis by post hoc and Pearson correlation.

Setting: The study was conducted in the Academic Department of Pediatrics.

Participants: A total of 19 SGA+ and 16 SGA- children were compared with 13 controls.

Intervention: No intervention was used.

Main outcome measures: Indexes of IR (glucose to insulin ratio, homeostasis model assessment of IR) were evaluated, and markers of oxidative stress (lag phase, malonildialdehyde, vitamin E) were measured.

Results: Homeostasis model assessment of IR was significantly higher in SGA+ than SGA- children (1.32+/-0.9 vs. 0.69+/-0.47; P=0.03) and controls (0.71+/-0.37; P=0.04). Glucose to insulin ratio was significantly lower in SGA+ than SGA- children (12.41+/-5.01 vs. 26.54+/-17.18; P=0.02) and controls (26.96+/-20.70; P=0.04). Lag phase was significantly shorter in SGA+ than SGA- children (24.3+/-4.38 vs. 35.59+/-11.29 min; P=0.003) and controls (45.28+/-7.69 min; P=0.0001) and in SGA- than controls (P=0.01). Malonildialdehyde was significantly higher in SGA+ than SGA- children (0.79+/-0.3 vs. 0.6+/-0.1 nmol/mg; P=0.03) and controls (0.36+/-0.04 nmol/mg; P=0.0001) and in SGA- children than controls (P=0.02). Vitamin E was significantly reduced in SGA+ children than controls (27.54+/-7.9 vs. 43.23+/-11.32 micromol/liter; P=0.002).

Conclusion: Oxidative stress is present in both SGA+ and SGA- children, with a continuous alteration in relation to IR. Therefore, catch-up growth might exert the greatest influence in the development of future diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Height
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electric Impedance
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Reference Values


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Lipoproteins, LDL