Background: Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is a devastating human recessive disorder characterised by progressive cerebellar ataxia, immunodeficiency, genetic instability, and cancer susceptibility. In addition, many patients suffer from growth failure.
Methods: We analyzed growth and IGF-1/BP3 levels of 24 A-T-patients compared with an age-matched group of healthy controls (n = 36).
Results: Ten (41.7%) A-T patients and none of healthy controls had an IGF-1 level below the 3rd percentile for age. The growth hormone (GH) stimulation tests revealed a severe GH deficiency with no increase of >5 ng/ml in six of the ten A-T patients. The IGF-1 generation tests revealed normal increases in IGF-1 values in all patients.
Conclusion: Our results show that a disturbance in the GH/IGF-1 axis was present in 58.3% of A-T patients. Low levels of GH were the result of reduced central GH secretion. GH treatment may be a therapeutic option for A-T patients with severe growth failure.
Keywords: Ataxia telangiectasia; IGF-1; IGF-BP3; growth hormone deficiency.