Spontaneous 24-hour growth hormone profiles in prepubertal small for gestational age children

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1995 Sep;80(9):2599-606. doi: 10.1210/jcem.80.9.7673401.


To evaluate spontaneous GH secretion in terms of both secretory rate and pulsatile pattern in prepubertal children born small for gestational age (SGA) and still short (below -2 SD scores) at or after 2 yr of age, 24-h GH profiles were investigated in 106 such patients (75 boys and 31 girls; mean age, 7.3 +/- 0.3 yr), 14 of whom (10 boys and 4 girls) had Silver-Russell syndrome. The 24-h secretion of GH was compared with that in 2 reference populations of prepubertal children born at an appropriate size for gestational age (AGA): 179 short healthy children (143 boys and 36 girls; mean age, 10.2 +/- 0.2 yr) and 73 children of normal stature (54 boys and 19 girls; mean age, 10.4 +/- 0.3 yr). Plasma GH concentrations from the 24-h profiles were transformed to GH secretion rates by means of a deconvolution technique. For the SGA children, the mean GH secretion rate was 0.3 U/24 h, with a positive correlation with age, whereas for the reference groups it was higher, 0.5 U/24 h for the short children (P < 0.05) and 0.7 U/24 h for the children of normal stature (P < 0.001). Interestingly, the GH secretion rate correlated positively with weight for height, expressed as the SD score, in girls born SGA (r = 0.40; P < 0.05), whereas an inverse correlation was found for the short AGA girls (r = -0.44; P < 0.05). The mean baseline GH level in the SGA children correlated negatively with age (r = -0.53; P < 0.01), with the highest values found for children younger than 6 yr of age. On the average, 8 GH peaks/24-h period were found in all groups of children, and using Fourier time-series analyses, a similar rhythmicity was found in all groups. In the SGA group, the children younger than 6 yr of age had more GH peaks with lower amplitudes than the older children. It is concluded that children born SGA and still short at or after 2 yr of age spontaneously secrete less GH than healthy children of short stature born AGA. Both of these subgroups of prepubertal short children, however, secrete less GH than children of normal height. This finding might in part explain the growth failure in SGA children. Moreover, in the youngest SGA children (2-6 yr of age) there was another pattern of GH secretion, with a high basal GH level, a low peak amplitude, and a high peak frequency.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / blood
  • Adolescent
  • Body Height
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Face / abnormalities
  • Female
  • Fingers / abnormalities
  • Growth Disorders / blood
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / blood*
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Syndrome


  • Growth Hormone