Hypersecretion of FSH in infant boys and girls born small for gestational age
Ibáñez, Lourdes × Valls, Carme Cols, Maria Ferrer, Angela Marcos, Maria Victoria de Zegher, Francis #
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism vol:87 issue:5 pages:1986-8
Prenatal growth restraint, as reflected in a low birthweight for gestational age, is a risk factor for postpubertal FSH hypersecretion and for reduced gonadal size. The ontogeny of the low-birthweight effect on the FSH-inhibin B feedback loop is unknown. Infancy is an episode of choice to study the possibility of an early low-birthweight effect on the FSH-inhibin B loop because this phase is characterized by high activity within the gonadal axis. We assessed serum concentrations of FSH and inhibin B in 46 infants [26 girls and 20 boys; mean age, 4 months; range, 3-6 months; 17 appropriate for gestational age (AGA), 29 small for gestational age (SGA); mean birthweight, 3.2 kg for AGA vs. 2.3 kg for SGA], together with circulating levels of LH, E2, and free androgen index. In SGA girls and boys, serum FSH levels were 2- and 4-fold higher (P < 0.001), respectively, than in AGA controls of the same gender (7.3 +/- 0.9 vs. 3.8 +/- 0.4 IU/ml and 2.9 +/- 0.5 vs. 0.7 +/- 0.2 IU/ml). Serum LH, inhibin B, and free androgen index/E2 concentrations were similar in AGA and SGA infants. In conclusion, prenatal growth restraint was found to be followed by elevated serum FSH concentrations in infant girls and boys. SGA infants seem to need an augmented FSH drive to fulfill inhibin B requirements on the afferent side of the feedback loop. The late-endocrine correlates of early growth restraint are herewith extended to include the main axis of reproduction in both genders. It remains to be studied whether FSH hypersecretion in infancy is a marker of subsequent subfertility.