Somatomedin-C in normal puberty and in true precocious puberty before and after treatment with a potent luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist

D. A. Harris, G. van Vliet, C. A. Egli, M. M. Grumbach, S. L. Kaplan, Dennis M Styne, M. Vainsel

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To explore further the relationship of gonadal sex steroids to the rise in somatomedin-C (Sm-C) during puberty, we studied a group of children with true precocious puberty before and after treatment which suppressed sex steroid output. Plasma estradiol and testosterone and serum acid-ethanol-extractable Sm-C were determined by specific RIAs in 7 boys and 12 girls with true precocious puberty before and at regular intervals during treatment with a potent LHRH-agonist (LHRH-A), D-Trp6-Pro9-NEt-LHRH. For comparison, Sm-C and sex steroid concentrations were determined in 266 normal adolescents and 37 normal prepubertal children, 1-9 yr of age. The mean ± SEM Sm-C levels in normal male individuals peaked at 15 yr (2.46 ± 0.23 U/ml) and at pubertal (genital) stage III (2.29 ± 0.19 U/ml), and those in normal females reached their highest concentration at 12-15 yr of age and at pubertal (breast) stage III (2.47 ± 0.15 U/ml). Sm-C concentrations correlated better with pubertal (genital or breast) stage than with chronological age for both sexes and better with testosterone levels in males than with estradiol levels in females. The mean ± SEM Sm-C concentrations in both males and females with true precocious puberty were 2.07 ± 0.16 U/ml before therapy and decreased significantly to 1.52 ± 0.13 U/ml after 6 months of therapy. The mean Sm-C level of the patients remained significantly elevated for chronological age, but decreased into the normal range for bone age after 6-12 months of therapy. Sm-C correlated significantly with testosterone and estradiol levels, but not with growth rate. Mean nighttime GH secretion decreased significantly after 6 months of LHRH-A therapy. In summary, children with true precocious puberty have Sm-C elevations typical of normal puberty. The decrease in Sm-C levels after suppression of gonadal sex steroid output with LHRH-A is evidence that sex steroids are necessary to induce this elevation in Sm-C concentration. The decrease in GH secretion during LHRH-A therapy suggests that the effect of sex steroids on Sm-C levels during normal puberty is mediated, at least in part, through stimulation of GH secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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