Association between serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and serum lipids in children and adolescents: a population-based study of german youth

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 May;100(5):2090-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4466. Epub 2015 Mar 17.


Context: No studies have examined the association between TSH and lipid profiles of healthy children and adolescents in the general population.

Objective: The objective was to investigate the association between TSH and lipid profiles.

Design: We used a population-based cross-sectional study design and analyzed our results using multivariable regression models.

Setting: The study was conducted in Germany.

Participants: We analyzed data from 6622 children (ages 3-10 y) and 6134 adolescents (ages 11-17 y) drawn from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS).

Intervention: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Blood samples were collected, and serum TSH levels were measured using the electrochemiluminescence method. High and low serum TSH levels were defined according to age-specific reference limits for the assay. Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglyceride levels were determined with enzymatic color analyses.

Results: We found a significant positive association between TSH and all non-HDL parameters (total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglycerides) in children (β = 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53-1.27; β = 0.78, 95% CI, 0.44-1.13; and β = 0.90, 95% CI, 0.52-1.27, respectively) and in adolescents (β = 0.90, 95% CI, 0.47-1.32; β = 0.67, 95% CI, 0.29-1.05; and β = 0.92, 95% CI, 0.49-1.35, respectively) (P < .05). Using stratified models, we found that this relationship was particularly present in overweight/obese children. Furthermore, high TSH levels in children were significantly associated with non-HDL parameters.

Conclusions: Higher TSH levels are associated with less favorable lipid levels in children. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify whether the association between TSH and lipid parameters in children and adolescents is a temporary phenomenon or is sustained into adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Thyrotropin / blood*
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Thyrotropin