Serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels in healthy children between 0 and 6 years of age

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2011;3(2):84-8. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.v3i2.17. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Objective: Along with growth hormone (GH) levels, measurements of serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) are used in the diagnosis of GH deficiency and in monitoring the efficacy and safety of long-term GH treatment. The purpose of the present study was to establish reference values for serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 in healthy Turkish children less than 6 years of age.

Methods: This study was designed as a multicenter project. Five hundred sixty-seven healthy children younger than 6 years of age from different geographical regions of Turkey, with weight and height values between the 10th and 90th percentiles according to the national standards were included in the study. In addition to anthropometric parameters, serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were measured in all subjects.

Results: Although not statistically significant, the serum IGF-1 levels in infants at age 6 months were lower than those in infants at age 3 months. The IGF-1 levels showed a slow increase with age. Serum IGF-1 levels were lower in girls as compared to boys only at age 6 months. No correlation was found between either serum IGFBP-3 levels and body mass index (BMI) or serum IGFBP-3 and weight and height standard deviation scores (SDS). A weak correlation was observed between serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentrations.

Conclusions: The age- and gender-specific reference values for serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 reported in this study will aid in the diagnosis of GH deficiency and in the monitoring of children receiving GH treatment.

Keywords: Growth hormone deficiency; IGF-1; IGFBP-3; childhood.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Turkey


  • IGFBP3 protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I