Premature thelarche and precocious puberty are frequently diagnosed in girls even below 6 years of age and may be difficult to differentiate in the early stages. A GnRH test is often included in the diagnostic work-up, although interpretation of the GnRH test in girls below 6 years of age is challenging, as no reference interval exists for this age group. The objective is to determine the normal FSH and LH response to a GnRH test in healthy prepubertal girls below 6 years of age.
Design and methods
A standardized GnRH test, baseline reproductive hormones, clinical evaluation and bone age were determined in all participants. Forty-eight healthy normal-weight girls aged 3.5 ± 0.2 years (range: 0.8–5.9 years) were included. Serum concentrations of LH and FSH were measured before and 30 min after the gonadorelin injection.
The 30-min LH responses (mean ± 2 s.d.) were 5.2 ± 4.0 and 2.9 ± 2.5 IU/L and the FSH responses were 23.3 ± 16.2 and 14.5 ± 10.3 IU/L in girls aged 0.8–3.0 years and 3.0–5.9 years respectively. This corresponds to upper cut-off limits for LH of 9.2 IU/L (<3 years) and 5.3 IU/L (3–6 years). The stimulated LH/FSH ratio was 0.23 ± 0.19 (range 0.06–0.43) and did not correlate with age.
We found that LH increases up to 9.2 IU/L during GnRH test in healthy normal-weight girls below 3 years of age and that the stimulated LH/FSH ratio did not exceed 0.43. Our findings have important implications for appropriate diagnosis of central precocious puberty in girls below 6 years of age.