Thyroid Hormones and Timing of Pubertal Onset in a Longitudinal Cohort of Females, Northern California, 2006-11

Jason A. Wilken, Louise C. Greenspan, Lawrence H. Kushi, Robert W. Voss, Gayle C. Windham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Pubertal timing is regulated by a complex interplay of hormones. Few studies have evaluated the role of thyroid hormones in pubertal onset. We investigated the associations between blood concentrations of free and total thyroxine (FT4, TT4), free triiodothyronine, and thyroid stimulating hormone and pubertal onset among females. Methods Participants included 323 Kaiser Permanente Northern California members followed at annual intervals during 2004-11, who provided a blood sample during the first 3 years of the study. Thyroid hormone concentrations were measured in serum in the first blood specimen available for each participant. Pubertal onset was defined as Tanner stage ≥2 for breast (thelarche) and pubic hair (pubarche) development. Associations between thyroid hormones and pubertal onset were assessed by multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards modelling. Results At blood draw, participants were age 6.5-10.1 (median 7.7) years, 10% had reached thelarche, and 12% had reached pubarche. Participants were followed 0-5 years after blood draw (median 4). At most recent clinical visit, participants were age 6.7-14.7 (median 12.3) years, 92% had reached thelarche, and 89% had reached pubarche. No associations were identified between having reached thelarche or pubarche at time of blood draw and thyroid hormones. Examined longitudinally, higher concentrations of pre-pubertal FT4 and TT4 were associated with earlier pubarche (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06, 1.86; per ng/dL and aHR 1.07, 95% CI 1.02, 1.12; per μg/dL respectively). Conclusions Higher pre-pubertal concentrations of FT4 and TT4 are associated with earlier pubarche.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalPaediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Puberty
  • thyroid hormones
  • thyrotropin
  • thyroxine
  • triiodothyronine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Thyroid Hormones and Timing of Pubertal Onset in a Longitudinal Cohort of Females, Northern California, 2006-11'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this