Article

Obesity and Sex Steroid Changes across Puberty: Evidence for Marked Hyperandrogenemia in Pre- and Early Pubertal Obese Girls

University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.21). 02/2007; 92(2):430-6. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2006-2002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Peripubertal obesity is associated with abnormal sex steroid concentrations, but the timing of onset and degree of these abnormalities remain unclear.
The objective of the study was to assess the degree of hyperandrogenemia across puberty in obese girls and assess overnight sex steroid changes in Tanner stage 1-3 girls.
This was a cross-sectional analysis.
The study was conducted at general clinical research centers.
Thirty normal-weight (body mass index for age < 85%) and 74 obese (body mass index for age >or= 95%) peripubertal girls.
Blood samples (circa 0500-0700 h) were taken while fasting. Samples from the preceding evening (circa 2300 h) were obtained in 23 Tanner 1-3 girls.
Hormone concentrations stratified by Tanner stage were measured.
Compared with normal-weight girls, mean free testosterone (T) was elevated 2- to 9-fold across puberty in obese girls, whereas fasting insulin was 3-fold elevated in obese Tanner 1-3 girls (P < 0.05). Mean LH was lower in obese Tanner 1 and 2 girls (P < 0.05) but not in more mature girls. In a subgroup of normal-weight Tanner 1-3 girls (n = 17), mean progesterone (P) and T increased overnight 2.3- and 2.4-fold, respectively (P <or= 0.001). In obese Tanner 1-3 girls (n = 6), evening P and T were elevated, and both tended to increase overnight [mean 1.4- and 1.6-fold, respectively (P = 0.06)].
Peripubertal obesity is associated with hyperandrogenemia and hyperinsulinemia throughout puberty, being especially marked shortly before and during early puberty. P and T concentrations in normal-weight Tanner 1-3 girls increase overnight, with similar but less evident changes in obese girls.

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    • "Among girls, peripubertal obesity is associated with significant hyperandrogenism, which is particularly marked in the pre-and early pubertal period (McCartney et al., 2007). Elevated insulin levels are thought to be the mechanism leading to hyperandrogenism (McCartney et al., 2007). Excess adiposity may thus cause polycystic ovary syndrome and may be associated with anovulation resulting in irregular menses (oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea), elevated androgens with or without clinical hyperandrogenism (hirsutism, acne, and male-pattern hair loss), and cystic ovaries. "
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