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Serum leptin and body composition in children with familial GH deficiency (GHD) due to a mutation in the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) receptor

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OBJECTIVE

The relationship between GH, body composition and leptin in children remains ill-defined. We have therefore examined the impact of severe GH deficiency (GHD) due to a mutation in the GHRH receptor on serum leptin concentrations and body composition in childhood. PATIENTS

12 affected children and young people (GHD) (4 M:8F, age 5.4–20.1 years, 8 Tanner stage (TS) 1–2, 4 TS 3–5) and 40 healthy controls (C) from the same region (13 M:27F, age 5.3–18.4 years, 20 TS 1–2, 20 TS 3–5). METHODS

Percent body fat was determined by infra-red interactance, from which the amounts of fat mass (FM, kg) and fat free mass (FFM, kg) were derived. Serum leptin concentrations were measured in a single fasted, morning serum sample and results expressed as a concentration and as leptin per unit fat mass (L/FM, ng/ml/kg). To control for differences in sex and pubertal maturation, leptin standard deviation scores (leptin SDS) were calculated using normative data from UK children. RESULTS

FFM was significantly lower in GHD children than in controls (TS 1–2 P < 0.05, TS 3–5 P < 0.001). FM did not differ significantly between the two groups. Serum leptin concentrations, leptin per unit fat mass and leptin SDS were significantly elevated in GHD children both peripubertal and pubertal compared with controls. Using all subjects, stepwise multiple linear regression with FM, FFM, age, puberty and sex as explanatory variables and leptin concentration as the dependent variable indicated that 59% of the variability in leptin could be accounted for by FM (+ , 45%), FFM (− , 9%) and sex (+ , 5%) (P < 0.001). However on inclusion of GH deficiency (coded GHD = 1, control = 2) as an explanatory variable 73% of the variability in leptin was explained by FM (+ , 45%), GHD (− , 22%) and sex (+ , 6%) (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS

These data indicate that severe GH deficiency in children is associated with elevated leptin concentrations, irrespective of sex or pubertal stage. This increase is not associated with differences in fat mass but is related to reduced fat free mass in GH deficiency. Furthermore in this population there may be an additional effect of GH deficiency on leptin, independent of the influences of sex and body composition.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Endocrinology, Federal University of Sergipe, Rua Claudio Batista, Aracaju, Brazil, 2: Endocrine Sciences Research Group, Department of Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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