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Pubertal course of persistently short children born small for gestational age compared with idiopathic short children born appropriate for gestational age



Pubertal course of persistently short children born small for gestational age compared with idiopathic short children born appropriate for gestational age



European Journal of Endocrinology 149(5): 425-432



Objective: Few data are available on the pubertal development of children born small for gestational age (SGA) who fail to show catch-up growth. Design: A longitudinal analysis compared the pubertal course of persistently short children born SGA compared to children with idiopathic short stature who were appropriate for gestational age (AGA). One hundred and twenty-eight short children (height SDS < -1.7), including 76 (31 boys) born SGA and 52 (22 boys) born AGA, were regularly followed from early childhood to completion of puberty. Results: Puberty was attained at normal age (10.5-14 years in boys, 9.5-13 years in girls) for most children in both the SGA and AGA groups (boys, 80% and 77%: girls, 76% and 78% respectively). The duration of puberty was similar in the SGA and AGA groups. Menarche occurred at normal age range but was significantly earlier in the SGA girls (P < 0.01 by ANOVA). Despite the similar total pubertal growth, the patterns of growth differed significantly: SGA group - accelerated growth and bone maturation rates from onset of puberty with peak height velocity at Tanner stages 2-3, followed by a decelerated growth rate and earlier fusion of the epiphyses; AGA group - steady progression of bone elongation and maturation throughout puberty (pubertal growth, P < 0.05 in both sexes; bone maturation, P < 0.001 in both sexes). Final height in the SGA group was compromised compared with their target height (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Children born SGA have a normal pubertal course with a distinct pubertal growth pattern. This pattern may represent an altered regulation of their growth modalities.

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