Clinical, biochemical and gender characteristics of 97 prepubertal children with premature adrenarche.J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2019; 32(11):1247-1252JP
Background Premature adrenarche (PA) is defined as the appearance of clinical signs of androgen action associated with levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) ≥40 μg/dL, before age 8 years in girls and 9 years in boys, without breast or testicular enlargement. The aim of this study was to characterize a population of prepubertal Caucasian children with PA and to compare them with regard to gender and body mass index (BMI) (normal BMI vs. overweight/obesity). Methods We performed a cross-sectional study of Portuguese Caucasian prepubertal children followed, due to PA, in pediatric endocrinology clinics of a university hospital. Results Eighty-two girls and 15 boys were included (mean age at evaluation: 7.4 ± 1.3 years). The mean birth weight was 2990 ± 689 g; only two children were small for gestational age. Girls presented premature pubarche at a younger age (median [interquartile range (IQR)] 6 (5-6) years vs. 7 (7-8) years in boys; p < 0.001). No gender differences were found for gestational age, birth weight, maternal age at menarche, anthropometry, bone age advancement or androgen levels. The majority of the subjects were overweight or obese (59%). Overweight/obese PA children were taller and had a more advanced bone age than normal-BMI PA children. Overweight/obese children presented higher levels of DHEAS and androstenedione. Bone age advancement and DHEAS were correlated (r = 0.449; p = 0.05). Conclusions We found no evidence of reduced fetal growth. Girls presented premature pubarche at a younger age. No major gender differences in androgen levels were found in prepuberty. Obese and overweight PA children tend to be taller, have a more advanced bone age and higher levels of androgens than normal-BMI PA children.