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Free access

M Guftar Shaikh, Richard G Grundy and Jeremy M W Kirk


Obesity following hypothalamic damage is often severe and resistant to lifestyle changes. Disruption of hypothalamic feedback mechanisms that maintain energy homeostasis may be responsible for this intractable obesity. Adipocytokines including insulin and leptin are also known to be important regulators of appetite and weight.


To investigate the role of insulin, leptin, adiponectin and resistin in the aetiology of hypothalamic obesity (HO).


This was a cross-sectional study of three groups of children, those with HO, congenital hypopituitarism (CH) and simple obesity (SO).


A total of 69 children (HO=28, CH=18, SO=23) had leptin, resistin, adiponectin and insulin measured. Although fasting hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance were demonstrated, no differences in insulin or insulin resistance were seen between the groups. The HO group, however, had higher levels of leptin, adiponectin and resistin, which persisted even after adjusting for fat mass, compared with the other groups (P<0.05).


No differences in fasting hyperinsulinaemia or insulin resistance were seen between the groups; however, leptin levels are elevated, even after adjusting for fat mass, suggesting that an element of leptin resistance is associated with HO. This is consistent with the inability of leptin to act on the hypothalamus, either due to transport across the blood–brain barrier or dysfunctional receptors. The lack of response to leptin may be more important in the development of obesity in these individuals, and the fasting hyperinsulinaemia is a result of the increased adipose tissue rather than the cause of the weight gain.

Free access

Rikke Beck Jensen, Ajay Thankamony, Susan M O'Connell, Jeremy Kirk, Malcolm Donaldson, Sten-A Ivarsson, Olle Söder, Edna Roche, Hilary Hoey, David B Dunger and Anders Juul


Short children born small for gestational age (SGA) are treated with a GH dose based on body size, but treatment may lead to high levels of IGF1. The objective was to evaluate IGF1 titration of GH dose in contrast to current dosing strategies.


In the North European Small-for-Gestational-Age Study (NESGAS), 92 short pre-pubertal children born SGA were randomised after 1 year of high-dose GH treatment (67 μg/kg per day) to three different regimens: high dose (67 μg/kg per day), low dose (35 μg/kg per day) or IGF1 titration.


The average dose during the second year of the randomised trial did not differ between the IGF1 titration group (38 μg/kg per day, s.d. 0.019) and the low-dose group (35 μg/kg per day, s.d. 0.002; P=0.46), but there was a wide variation in the IGF1 titration group (range 10–80 μg/kg per day). The IGF1 titration group had significantly lower height gain (0.17 SDS, s.d. 0.18) during the second year of the randomised trial compared with the high-dose group (0.46 SDS, s.d. 0.25), but not significantly lower than the low-dose group (0.23 SDS, s.d. 0.15; P=0.17). The IGF1 titration group had lower IGF1 levels after 2 years of the trial (mean 1.16, s.d. 1.24) compared with both the low-dose (mean 1.76, s.d. 1.48) and the high-dose (mean 2.97, s.d. 1.63) groups.


IGF1 titration of GH dose in SGA children proved less effective than current dosing strategies. IGF1 titration resulted in physiological IGF1 levels with a wide range of GH dose and a poorer growth response, which indicates the role of IGF1 resistance and highlights the heterogeneity of short SGA children.

Open access

Jan Idkowiak, Yasir S Elhassan, Pascoe Mannion, Karen Smith, Rachel Webster, Vrinda Saraff, Timothy G Barrett, Nicholas G Shaw, Nils Krone, Renuka P Dias, Melanie Kershaw, Jeremy M Kirk, Wolfgang Högler, Ruth E Krone, Michael W O'Reilly and Wiebke Arlt

Objective: Androgen excess in childhood is a common presentation and may signify sinister underlying pathology. Data describing its patterns and severity are scarce, limiting the information available for clinical decision processes. Here, we examined the differential diagnostic value of serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), androstenedione (A4), and testosterone (T) in childhood androgen excess.

Design: Retrospective review of all children undergoing serum androgen measurement at a single center over 5 years.

Methods: Serum A4 and T were measured by tandem mass spectrometry, DHEAS by immunoassay. Patients with at least one increased androgen underwent phenotyping by clinical notes review.

Results: In 487 children with simultaneous DHEAS, A4, and T measurements, we identified 199 with androgen excess (140 pre- and 59 post-pubertal). Premature adrenarche (PA) was the most common pre-pubertal diagnosis (61%), characterized by DHEAS excess in 85%, while A4 and T were only increased in 26% and 9%, respectively. PCOS was diagnosed in 40% of post-pubertal subjects, presenting equally frequent with isolated excess of DHEAS (29%) or T (25%) or increases in both A4 and T (25%). CAH patients (6%) predominantly had A4 excess (86%); T and DHEAS were increased in 50% and 33%, respectively. Concentrations increased above the two-fold upper limit of normal were mostly observed in PA for serum DHEAS (>20fold in the single case of adrenocortical carcinoma), and in CAH for serum androstenedione.

Conclusions: Patterns and severity of childhood androgen excess provides pointers to the underlying diagnosis and can be used to guide further investigations.