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      A Cross-Sectional Study of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate in Prepubertal Children with Myelomeningocele

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          Objective: To assess biochemical characteristics of adrenarche in patients with myelomeningocele (MMC), we examined serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) in prepubertal MMC patients. Patients and Methods: The study included a total of 54 prepubertal patients with MMC and shunted hydrocephalus: 13 patients (2 m, 11 f; aged 4.6–10.1 years, mean 8.1 ± 0.4) with isolated pubarche (Tanner stage PH 2–4, B1 or testes volume ≤3 ml) and 41 prepubertal MMC patients without pubarche (17 m, 24 f; aged 2.0–11.9 years; mean 6.8 ± 2.5). DHEAS levels were measured directly by chemiluminescence immunoassay (Nichols, USA). Auxological data (supine length, body mass index (BMI), arm span) and bone age (BA) were recorded. Results (mean ± SD): Basal DHEAS levels correlated with chronological age (CA) (r = 0.32, p < 0.05), BA (r = 0.65, p < 0.01; n = 23), BMI (r = 0.54, p < 0.01) and pubic hair stage (PH1 vs. PH2–4, r = 0.49, p < 0.01). 10/11 patients aged 2–4 years had DHEAS levels in the normal range, whereas 18/40 (45.0%) of the 5- to 9-year-old patients showed elevated levels (>+2 SDS). Ten patients with isolated pubarche (10/13; 2 m, 8 f; CA 8.3 ± 1.5 years) and 9 patients without pubarche (9/41; 6 m, 3 f; CA 6.9 ± 2.1 years) had elevated DHEAS levels (+6.34 and +4.05 SDS, respectively). The values correlated with BA/CA ratio (p < 0.05, n = 23). There was a trend to higher BMI SDS levels in patients with elevated DHEAS levels. Conclusion: Our data show an early and increased activation of adrenal androgen secretion in MMC patients.

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          Most cited references 1

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          Follow-up study of adolescent girls with a history of premature pubarche.

           D. Miller,  S Emans,  I Kohane (1996)
          A total of 37 girls with a history of benign premature pubarche were followed into puberty; a disproportionate number of girls experienced early menarche. Twenty-five had some degree of acne, 14 had hirsutism, and 5 had acanthosis nigricans. Body mass index (BMI) at initial presentation correlated with postpubertal BMI and was weakly correlated with postpubertal hirsutism.

            Author and article information

            Horm Res Paediatr
            Hormone Research in Paediatrics
            S. Karger AG
            31 January 2002
            : 56
            : 1-2
            : 19-24
            Department of Pediatrics, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
            48085 Horm Res 2001;56:19–24
            © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Page count
            Figures: 3, Tables: 2, References: 30, Pages: 6
            Original Paper


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