Growth and the growth hormone axis in prepubertal children with asthma

J Pediatr. 1995 Feb;126(2):297-303. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(95)70566-x.


To determine the influence of asthma and its treatment with inhaled corticosteroids on growth, linear growth velocity, and the growth hormone axis in prepubertal children, we performed a longitudinal study for 12 months in 56 children with asthma, aged between 4.4 and 11.7 years. Height, weight, skin-fold thickness, and lung function were measured every 3 months and bone age at entry to and exit from the study. A 24-hour serum growth hormone concentration profile and fasting insulin-like growth factor I levels were measured halfway through the year. Seventy-four percent of boys and 62% of girls had heights below the 50th percentile. Growth velocity in the nonsteroid-treated control group (n = 13) was normal; 10 of 20 children taking beclomethasone grew slowly (14/20 used a dry powder device), and 4 of 19 children taking budesonide grew slowly (15/19 used a spacer). Three of four children using inhaled steroids and prednisolone grew slowly. In none of the treatment groups were measures of growth hormone secretion or levels of radioimmunoassayable serum insulin-like growth factor I affected. We conclude that slow growth in steroid-treated children with asthma does not appear to be associated with major perturbations in the growth hormone axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Growth Hormone / metabolism
  • Growth* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Growth Hormone