Gender dimorphic associations between N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, body mass index and blood pressure in children and adolescents

Horm Res Paediatr. 2010;73(5):341-8. doi: 10.1159/000308166. Epub 2010 Apr 14.


Background: Obesity and hypertension are often comorbid, but the pathophysiologic mechanisms that link them are not fully understood. Natriuretic peptides might play a role in this association. The majority of studies show lower brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations as well as lower concentrations of the N-terminal of the prohormone (NT-proBNP) in obese than normal body mass index (BMI) adults and higher BNP concentrations in hypertensive than in normotensive individuals. In children, there are no studies examining the relations between NT-proBNP, BMI and blood pressure.

Materials and methods: Ninety-six children, 24 obese/25 normal BMI boys, and 23 obese/24 normal BMI girls, aged 10-16 years, were studied. Plasma NT-proBNP was measured using electrochemiluminescence.

Results: In males, NT-proBNP concentrations were lower in the obese than the normal BMI group but higher in the obese hypertensive than the obese normotensive group (p = 0.04). In addition, a significant positive correlation was noted between plasma NT-proBNP and blood pressure (p = 0.03) only in obese males. In females, no correlations were detected between NT-proBNP, BMI and systolic or diastolic blood pressure.

Conclusions: Longitudinal studies are needed to define the role of NT-proBNP as a screening biomarker in obese children, particularly males, to determine their risk for developing arterial hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood*
  • Male
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood*
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Peptide Fragments / blood*
  • Sex Factors


  • Peptide Fragments
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain