Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) serum concentrations in healthy children and adolescents: relationship to level of contamination by DDT-derivative pesticides

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2010 Feb;20(1):63-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2009.07.003. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Context: Serum levels of Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) play a critical role in children growth and in the pathogenesis of several diseases. In addition, recent studies suggest that DDT-derivative organochlorine pesticides (OC-DDTs) could influence IGF levels in human beings.

Objective and design: Because it has been suggested that IGF-I peak levels at puberty could determine IGF-I levels in adulthood, we developed a cross-sectional study of the potential association between serum levels of OC-DDTs and IGF system in 160 serum samples from young people (81 boys and 79 girls) living in the Canary Islands (Spain).

Results: Multivariate tests were used adjusting for confounding variables (age, height, and weight) and stratifying by gender and age: IGF-I serum levels were significantly lower in pre-pubertal male children (6-15years) who showed detectable values of p,p'-DDE, and p,p'-DDD than in pre-pubertal male children with undetectable levels of these OC-DDTs-metabolites (p=0.023 and p=0.049, respectively). In addition, in this multivariate model, a non-linear dose-response curve was observed between Total DDT body burden (sum of the three DDT-derivatives measured: p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE, and p,p'-DDD) and IGF-I in pre-pubertal male children (6-15years; p=0.043).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that OC-DDTs could modulate the IGF-system in a way that is highly influenced by gender and age. Improvements in our understanding of exogenous determinants of the IGF-system may provide new insights into the role played by environmental contaminants in IGF-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Height / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DDT / blood*
  • DDT / toxicity
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Male
  • Pesticide Residues / blood*
  • Pesticide Residues / toxicity
  • Puberty / blood
  • Puberty / drug effects
  • Spain


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • DDT