Growth retardation and growth hormone deficiency in patients with Ataxia telangiectasia

Growth Factors. 2014 Jun;32(3-4):123-9. doi: 10.3109/08977194.2014.939805.


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.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / blood*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / diagnosis
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / pathology
  • Body Height*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Male


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