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Pubarche and Gonadarche Onset and Progression Are Differently Associated With Birth Weight and Infancy Growth Patterns

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Context: Controversy exists regarding associations between early-life growth patterns and timing of puberty.

Objective: This work aims to investigate associations between birth anthropometry, early growth patterns, and onset/progression of pubertal milestones in boys and girls.

Methods: Among children examined at birth (1997-2003) and at age 36 months in a mother-child cohort, pubertal Tanner stages (B1-5, PH1-5, G1-5) and testicular volume were examined by trained physicians at 1 to 5 follow-up examinations during childhood and adolescence (672 girls and 846 boys, 2006-2013).With parametric survival models we analyzed associations between birth weight, changes in SD scores (SDS) from birth to 36 months (ΔSDS 0-36 > 0.67 SD defining catch-up growth), and age at pubertal onset/attainment of late pubertal stages/menarche.

Results: A 1-kg higher birth weight was associated with earlier onset of B2+ (thelarche): -3.9 months (CI, -6.7 to -1.1 months), G2+ (gonadarche): -2.7 months (-5.3 to -0.1 months), Tvol3+ (testis size > 3 mL): -2.8 months (CI, -4.9 to -0.7 months), but with later G4+ and PH4+ in boys, and a slower progression from B2 to menarche (5.3 months [CI, 1.2 to 9.4 months]) in girls. Catch-up growth was associated with earlier PH2+ (pubarche) in girls (-4.1 months [CI, -7.6 to -0.6 months]), earlier PH2+ in boys (-3.4 months [CI, -6.6 to -0.2 months]), faster progression from B2 to menarche in girls (-9.1 months [CI, 14.6 to 3.5 months]), and earlier G4+ and PH4+ in boys.

Conclusion: Associations between birthweight and infancy catch-up growth differed for gonadarche and pubarche, and for early and late pubertal markers, with similar patterns in both sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbvab108
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Volume5
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)bvab108
ISSN2472-1972
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

    Research areas

  • catch-up growth, gonadarche, menarche, puberty, thelarche

ID: 67243516