Low birth weight and preterm birth are associated with growth delay as well as the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is especially seen in subjects with catch-up growth. GH therapy induces growth in short subjects with low birth weight at term, but little is known about the long-term effects on insulin sensitivity. GH therapy is now also proposed for preterms that remain short.
We investigated insulin sensitivity using the gold standard hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique in 10 young adult males born small for gestational age (SGA) who had been treated with GH during childhood (GH) in comparison with 15 males born preterm AGA (premAGA), 13 males born preterm SGA (premSGA), and 15 males born at term with normal birth weight (CON). Furthermore, we investigated the presence of the metabolic syndrome.
Insulin sensitivity was decreased in premAGA, premSGA, and GH subjects compared with CON males. The metabolic syndrome was not present in any of the groups.
Insulin sensitivity is decreased in GH-treated SGA born males as well as in preterm born males. With respect to the SGA subjects, whether the difference results from perinatal-, postnatal-, or GH therapy-related factors are not known. With respect to the preterm born subjects, close surveillance is needed when commencing GH therapy.