Hyperandrogenism in adolescent girls: relationship with the somatotrophic axis

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May 1;30(5):561-568. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2016-0340.


Background: During puberty there is a physiologic increase in adrenal and ovarian androgens. It has been suggested that the somatotrophic axis may be related to the development of hyperandrogenism and anovulation in non-obese adult women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The objective of the study was to investigate whether ovarian androgen secretion in young postmenarchal girls is related to the function of their somatotropic axis.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of adolescent girls. We studied non-obese adolescent girls with hyperandrogenism (HA; n = 21) matched with control girls (C; n = 25) for chronological age, age at menarche and body mass index. We obtained a fasting blood sample for measurement of serum glucose, insulin, 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OH-Prog), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), androstenedione, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), total testosterone, IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-3, ghrelin, leptin, AMH (antiMüllerian hormone), luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) during the follicular phase of the menstrual period. We performed an oral glucose tolerance test to determine blood glucose, insulin and ghrelin levels and urine samples to measure urinary GH (growth hormone) levels.

Results: As expected, the hyperandrogenic girls had significantly higher Ferriman scores, basal total testosterone, free androgen index (FAI), androstenedione, AMH, and basal LH levels compared with the girls in controls. Serum IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-3 and urinary GH did not differ between HA and C. There was a correlation between urinary GH and FAI in all girls (r 0.29, p < 0.05). In addition, in HA girls FAI correlated with insulin, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) and ghrelin.

Conclusions: We observed a correlation between urinary GH and FAI in the hyperandrogenic and control girls, suggesting that the function of the somatotrophic axis may influence the secretion of androgens in adolescent girls.

Keywords: adolescents; growth factors; hyperandrogenism.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / metabolism
  • Hyperandrogenism / pathology*
  • Ovary / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Somatotropin / metabolism*
  • Sexual Maturation


  • Hormones
  • Receptors, Somatotropin