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Adrenal function in adolescence is related to intrauterine and postnatal growth

Journal article
Authors I. Petraitienė
M. Valūnienė
Kerstin Albertsson-Wikland
R. Verkauskienė
Published in Medicina
Volume 55
Issue 5
Pages 167
ISSN 1010-660X
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 167
Language en
Keywords Children born appropriate for gestational age (AGA), Cortisol, DHEAS, Postnatal growth, Puberty
Subject categories Neurosciences


Background and objectives: Intrauterine growth restriction is thought to be implicated in long-term programming of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis activity. We investigated adrenal function in adolescents born small for gestational age (SGA) in relation to their postnatal growth and cardiovascular parameters. Materials and Methods: Anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, heart rate, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and cortisol levels were assessed in 102 adolescents aged 11–14 years followed from birth (47 SGA and 55 born appropriate for gestational age (AGA)). Results: Mean DHEAS levels were higher in SGA adolescents with catch-up growth (SGACU+), compared with AGA. Second-year height velocity and body mass index (BMI) gain during preschool years were positively related to DHEAS levels. Morning cortisol levels and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in SGA adolescents without catch-up growth (SGACU−) compared with AGA. Second-year BMI gain was inversely, and 2–12 years increase in subscapular skinfold thickness was directly associated with cortisol levels. Size at birth and postnatal growth explained 47.8% and 38.2% of variation in DHEAS and cortisol levels, respectively. Conclusion: Adrenal function in adolescence is affected by prenatal and postnatal growth: small size at birth with postnatal catch-up growth is related to higher DHEAS secretion, whereas increased cortisol levels and blood pressure are higher in short SGA adolescents. © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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