Hormonal 'minipuberty' influences the somatic development of boys but not of girls up to the age of 6 years

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015 Nov;83(5):694-701. doi: 10.1111/cen.12827. Epub 2015 Jul 1.


Objective: Hormonal 'minipuberty' refers to a transient sex-specific surge of LH, FSH, testosterone (T) and estradiol (E2) in the first few months of life. We hypothesized a potential long-term effect of this hormonal surge on somatic parameters in the following years and therefore designed this longitudinal study.

Design: A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to analyse the potential influence of hormone concentrations during minipuberty on anthropometric measurements conducted in the first 6 years of life.

Patients: Thirty-five healthy babies (17 male, 18 female) were the participants.

Measurements: Testosterone, E2, SHBG, LH and FSH were measured at the ages of four, eight and 20 weeks. Anthropometric measurements were taken eight times in the first 12 months, then every 6 months up to the age of 6 years.

Results: A significant negative effect was found in boys between testosterone and LH levels at 8 weeks and body weight up to the age of 6 years and BMI up to 6 years (LH) and 3 years (T), respectively. A further negative effect was found between E2 levels at the age of 20 weeks and body weight as well as body length in the years that followed. A positive effect was observed between E2 at the age of 4 weeks and skinfold thickness up to the age of 6 years in boys. No significant effects were found in girls.

Conclusions: The findings seem to reflect an up to now unknown long-term influence of the physiological early hormonal surge on the subsequent male but not female somatic development.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development*
  • Body Weight
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Waist Circumference


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary