The roles of insulin sensitivity, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), and IGF-binding protein-1 and -3 in the hyperandrogenism of African-American and Caribbean Hispanic girls with premature adrenarche

Patricia Vuguin, Barbara Linder, Ron G. Rosenfeld, Paul Saenger, Joan DiMartino-Nardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent reports indicate that girls with premature adrenarche are at risk of developing functional ovarian hyperandrogenism and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). As insulin and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of PCOS, we hypothesize that they may also have a role in the hyperandrogenism of premature adrenarche. Thirty-five prepubertal girls (23 Caribbean Hispanics and 12 Black African-Americans) underwent a 60-min ACTH and LH-releasing hormone test. Insulin sensitivity (S(I)) was assessed using the frequently sampled iv glucose tolerance test with tolbutamide. Fasting levels of IGF-I, IGF-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1), IGFBP-3, sex hormone-binding globulin, and free testosterone (T) were also obtained. The mean age of the patients was 6.8 yr, and bone age was 8.0 yr. Twenty-five patients had a family history of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and 19 patients had acanthosis nigricans. The mean S(I) for the entire group was 6.78 ± 5.21 x 10-4 min/μU·mL (normal prepubertal S(I), 6.5 ± 0.54 x 10-4 min-1·μU-1·mL-1). However, 15 of the 35 girls had an S(I) that was more than 2 SD below the mean reported for normal prepubertal children. Of these 15 patients, 13 were obese, and 14 had acanthosis nigricans. For the entire group of girls, the mean ACTH-stimulated levels of 17-hydroxypregnenolone (17OHPreg), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione (AS), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), and T and the ACTH-stimulated ratios of 17OHPreg/17OHP, 17OHPreg/DHEA, 17OHP/AS, and DHEA/AS did not differ from the levels reported for Tanner stage II-III pubertal girls. The girls were divided into two groups based on their S(I) (group I, S(I) >2 SD below the mean for age; group II, normal S(I)). The group I girls with a reduced S(I) had significantly higher ACTH-stimulated levels of 17OHPreg (group I, 760 ± 87.84 ng/dL; group II, 428.9 ± 46.28 ng/dL; P = 0.002), 17OHPreg/17OHP ratio (group I, 3.95 ± 0.36; group II, 2.96 ± 0.35; P = 0.05), 17OHPreg/DHEA (group I, 2.06 ± 0.21; group II, 1.4 ± 0.13; P = 0.01), and free T (group I, 1 ± 0.23 ng/dL; group II, 0.49 ± 0.19 ng/dL; P = 0.014). Levels of sex hormone-binding globulin were lower in the group I girls. Furthermore, for the entire group of girls, the S(I) correlated inversely with ACTH-stimulated levels of 17OHPreg, DHEA, and AS and the ACTH-stimulated ratio of 17OHPreg/17OHP. IGF-I correlated inversely with S(I) (r = -0.94; P < 0.001) and correlated directly with the ACTH-stimulated levels of 17OHPreg (r = 0.8; P < 0.001) and AS (r = 0.63; P < 0.05). IGF-I also correlated with the ACTH-stimulated ratios of 17OHPreg/17OHP (r = 0.61; P < 0.05), 17OHPreg/DHEA (r = 0.9; P < 0.001), 17OHP/AS (r = 0.79; P < 0.001), and DHEA/AS (r = 0.96; P < 0.001). IGFBP-1 correlated inversely with the ACTH-stimulated levels of 17OHPreg (r = -0.38; P < 0.05) and DHEA (r = -0.36; P < 0.05). To summarize, the ACTH-stimulated Δ5-steroid levels were higher in prepubertal girls with premature adrenarche and reduced S(I). There was a significant inverse correlation among ACTH-stimulated hormone levels, S(I), and IGFBP-1, whereas IGF-I correlated directly with ACTH-stimulated androgens. These findings support the hypothesis that insulin and IGFs may have a role in the hyperandrogenism of premature adrenarche just as they do in PCOS. Hence, in certain girls with premature adrenarche, hyperandrogenism may be the first presentation of PCOS and/or insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2037-2042
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume84
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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