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      Diagnostic Utility of a Low-Dose Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Test in the Context of Puberty Disorders

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          Abstract

          Objectives: The 10-µg gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) test assesses pituitary gonadotroph responsiveness, whereas the 100-µg dose assesses maximal secretory capacity. Our aims were to establish normative data for the low-dose test in children and to evaluate the test in diagnosing common pubertal disorders. Methods: We retrospectively classified 107 children who underwent 10-µg GnRH tests into normal prepubertal (20 boys, 10 girls), normal early pubertal (10 boys, 16 girls), constitutional delay of puberty (CDP, 13 prepubertal boys >12 years), hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HH, 5 prepubertal boys >12 years), central precocious puberty (CPP, 19 girls) or premature thelarche/variant (13 girls). Results: Peak LH response was higher in prepubertal boys >12 years compared with younger boys (p < 0.01) but showed no further change in early puberty. CDP boys had LH responses similar to prepubertal boys >12 years. HH boys showed an absent LH response which diagnosed HH with 100% sensitivity and 96% specificity. Thelarche girls had LH:FSH peak ratios lower than normal prepubertal (p = 0.001), pubertal (p < 0.05) or CPP (p = 0.001) girls. Conclusions: We have established normative values for the low-dose GnRH test in children. The test successfully differentiated HH from CDP in boys, and contributed to the differential diagnosis of CPP and premature thelarche in girls.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Gonadotropin secretory dynamics during puberty in normal girls and boys.

          To determine the most useful index of pubertal gonadotropin secretion we measured spontaneous LH and FSH levels every 20 min for 24 h and the LH and FSH responses to LHRH in a total of 37 girls and 30 boys representing each of the 5 stages of puberty. Mean 24-h LH and FSH levels rose significantly with increasing pubertal stage in both girls and boys. LH peak amplitude increased significantly with increasing pubertal stage for both sexes, whereas FSH peak amplitude did not. LH and FSH peaks were present throughout the 24-h period in all children, but the frequency did not change significantly with increasing pubertal stage. Mean gonadotropin levels, peak amplitudes, and peak frequencies tended to be higher at night from pubertal stages 1-4 of puberty. There were no significant sex differences in mean LH, LH peak amplitude, or LH peak frequency. The LHRH-stimulated peak LH to peak FSH ratio was greater in boys than girls during pubertal stages 1-3 and was less useful in distinguishing pubertal from prepubertal boys. For girls, the most accurate index of pubertal gonadotropin secretion was a LHRH-stimulated peak LH to peak FSH ratio greater than 0.66, which detected 96% of the pubertal girls with no false positives. For boys, the most accurate index was a maximum spontaneous nighttime LH level of 12 IU/L or more, which detected 90% of the pubertal boys with no false positives. We conclude that there are important sex differences in the gonadotropin responses to LHRH during puberty, and that criteria for the onset of pubertal gonadotropin secretion should be sex specific.
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            Premature thelarche and central precocious puberty: the relationship between clinical presentation and the gonadotropin response to luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone.

            Premature thelarche is a benign condition that affects young girls. In contrast, central precocious puberty is considered a more serious disorder that causes progressive secondary sexual development, accelerated growth and skeletal maturation, early epiphyseal fusion, and short adult stature. Differentiation between these 2 conditions is important, but may be difficult on clinical grounds, since patients with both disorders may present initially as isolated breast development. To examine the potential usefulness of gonadotropin measurements in distinguishing early central precocious puberty from premature thelarche, we measured basal and LHRH-stimulated plasma gonadotropin levels in 58 girls with idiopathic premature breast development. The girls were divided into six clinically distinct groups, based on the severity of clinical presentation, ranging from isolated breast development (group A) to complete secondary sexual development and accelerated growth and skeletal maturation (group F). The mean basal plasma LH levels and the peak LH response to LHRH stimulation were significantly less in girls with isolated thelarche (group A) than in girls with complete sexual development (group F). The mean basal plasma FSH levels did not differ between these groups, but the peak FSH response to LHRH was greater in girls with isolated thelarche than in girls with complete sexual development. Thus, girls with isolated premature thelarche had a FSH-predominant response to LHRH [mean ratio of peak LH to peak FSH, 0.29 +/- 0.10 (+/- SD)], while girls with complete sexual development had a LH-predominant response (peak LH/FSH, 4.16 +/- 1.80). All girls with isolated thelarche had peak LH/FSH ratios less than 1, and all girls with complete sexual development had a ratio greater than 1. Girls with early or intermediate manifestations of central precocious puberty, who had features of puberty in addition to breast development but lacked all of the features of group F, comprised groups B-E. These girls also had intermediate peak LH/FSH ratios, ranging from 0.29 +/- 0.10 (group B) to 3.35 +/- 2.66 (group E). We conclude that girls with early central precocious puberty frequently have LH and FSH responses to LHRH that are indistinguishable from the FSH-predominant responses of girls with isolated thelarche. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that premature thelarche and central precocious puberty may represent different positions along a continuum of hypothalamic LHRH neuron activation.
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              Inhibin B in boys from birth to adulthood: relationship with age, pubertal stage, FSH and testosterone.

              Inhibin B in males is produced principally by Sertoli cells under the influence of FSH and is thought to have a role in feedback regulation of FSH. The aims of our study were to investigate how inhibin B changes from birth to late adolescence in boys, to derive reference data and to explore its relation with pubertal stage, FSH and testosterone. Blood samples were collected from (i) 366 boys aged 0--18 years to obtain age-related reference data; (ii) 195 boys who had full pubertal staging; and (iii) a cohort of 15 boys studied longitudinally as they approached and entered early puberty. Dimeric inhibin B was measured by double antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), FSH by immunoradiometric assay (IRA) and testosterone by an extraction radioimmunoassay. Inhibin B was high in infant boys, decreased gradually to a nadir at 6--10 years of age, then increased rapidly in early adolescence to reach a new plateau at 12--17 years. It was detectable in all samples. Age-related reference ranges and data for calculation of SD scores are presented. In prepubertal boys, inhibin B correlated positively with age (P < 0.001), but not with FSH. Inhibin B increased progressively from pubertal stages G1 to G3 but then decreased slightly at stages G4 to G5 (P less-than-or-equal 0.01). At stage G2, inhibin B correlated positively with testosterone (P < 0.01) but not with FSH. From stage G3 onwards, inhibin B correlated inversely with FSH (P < 0.01) but lost its relationship with testosterone. In the cohort of boys studied longitudinally, inhibin B increased progressively prior to pubertal onset and further on entry into early clinical puberty (P < 0.05). Testosterone also increased over this period (P < 0.05) but FSH showed no significant change. The two peaks of inhibin B during infancy and early puberty appear to reflect the two periods of Sertoli cell proliferation in normal human males. During mid-childhood, a relatively constant amount of inhibin B is secreted constitutively. The early FSH-independent increase in inhibin B that precedes clinical puberty and continues to stage G2 may be stimulated by testosterone or other factors from Leydig cells. The inverse relationship between inhibin B and FSH that subsequently develops from mid-puberty onwards is consistent with the establishment of a negative feedback loop at this time.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                HRE
                Horm Res Paediatr
                10.1159/issn.1663-2818
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                1663-2818
                1663-2826
                2004
                October 2004
                21 October 2004
                : 62
                : 4
                : 168-176
                Affiliations
                aSection of Child Life and Health, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh and bPaediatric Biochemistry Department, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK
                Article
                80324 Horm Res 2004;62:168–176
                10.1159/000080324
                15331852
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 43, Pages: 9
                Categories
                Original Paper

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