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K. Nordenström, S. Rosberg and P. Roos

Abstract. Adenylate cyclase activity was measured in membranes prepared of granulosa cells isolated from PMSG-treated immature rats and the effects of ovine, highly purified human and rat gonadotrophins were compared. Furthermore, a comparison of the effects of the human preparations (hLH, hFSH) on the adenylate cyclase activity in membranes prepared from granulosa cells isolated at different stages of follicular maturation, was performed.

The adenylate cyclase in membranes of immature granulosa cells was stimulable with FSH but not with LH, while in pre-ovulatory granulosa cell membranes, both gonadotrophins were stimulatory with FSH generally being more effective than LH. Surprisingly, the dose-response curve for ovine LH (oLH) was biphasic with a plateau at a level of adenylate cyclase activity corresponding to the maximal stimulatory effect of hCG. With increasing oLH concentrations the response resumed and the maximal stimulation corresponded to that of oFSH. With highly purified rat gonadotrophins the FSH response was significantly higher than the response to LH at all concentrations tested. Using highly purified human gonadotrophins the maximal FSH response was 50% higher than the maximal LH response and by adding increasing concentrations of hFSH to a maximally stimulatory concentration of hLH it was possible to mimic the biphasic dose-response curve for oLH. When the membranes were prepared from ganulosa cells isolated after the pro-oestrus LH/FSH surge there was clear increase in the sensitivity of the adenylate cyclase to stimulation with LH although the maximal response was unaffected. The sensitivity to FSH was not altered.

These data indicate that FSH gives a higher maximal stimulation of the adenylate cyclase in rat granulosa cells than does LH, and the biphasic dose-response curve seen with oLH most probably is due to a FSH contamination in the LH preparation used. After in vivo exposure to the pro-oestrus LH/FSH surge no desensitization was observed but instead a clear increase in LH sensitivity. It thus seems as if the primary FSH sensitive cell under the influence of the LH/FSH surge turns to a primary LH sensitive one.

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H Matsuoka, H Fors, I Bosaeus, S Rosberg, K Albertsson-Wikland and R Bjarnason

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to follow changes in body composition, estimated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), in relation to changes in leptin during the first year of GH therapy in order to test the hypothesis that leptin is a metabolic signal involved in the regulation of GH secretion in children. DESIGN AND METHODS: In total, 33 prepubertal children were investigated. Their mean (S.D.) chronological age at the start of GH treatment was 11.5 (1.6) years, and their mean height was -2.33 (0.38) S.D. scores (SDS). GH was administered subcutaneously at a daily dose of 0.1 (n=26) or 0.2 (n=7) IU/kg body weight. Ten children were in the Swedish National Registry for children with GH deficiency, and twenty-three children were involved in trials of GH treatment for idiopathic short stature. Spontaneous 24-h GH secretion was studied in 32 of the children. In the 24-h GH profiles, the maximum level of GH was determined and the secretion rate estimated by deconvolution analysis (GHt). Serum leptin levels were measured at the start of GH treatment and after 10 and 30 days and 3, 6 and 12 months of treatment. Body composition measurements, by DXA, were performed at baseline and 12 months after the onset of GH treatment. RESULTS: After 12 months of GH treatment, mean height increased from -2.33 to -1.73 SDS and total body fat decreased significantly by 3.0 (3.3)%. Serum leptin levels were decreased significantly at all time points studied compared with baseline. There was a significant correlation between the change in total body fat and the change in serum leptin levels during the 12 months of GH treatment, whereas the leptin concentration per unit fat mass did not change. In a multiple stepwise linear regression analysis with 12 month change in leptin levels as the dependent variable, the percentage change in fat over 12 months, the baseline fat mass (%) of body mass and GHt accounted for 24.0%, 11.5% and 12.2% of the variability respectively. CONCLUSIONS: There are significant correlations between changes in leptin and fat and endogenous GH secretion in short children with various GH secretory capacities. Leptin may be the messenger by which the adipose tissue affects hypothalamic regulation of GH secretion.

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CL Boguszewski, C Jansson, MC Boguszewski, S Rosberg, KA Wikland, B Carlsson and LM Carlsson

The proportion of non-22 kDa GH isoforms was evaluated in 93 healthy children (48 boys aged 6.8-18.4 years and 45 girls aged 3.9-18.4 years) of normal stature (height +/- 2 s.d. score) at different stages of puberty. In addition, correlations among the proportion of non-22 kDa GH isoforms, auxology, spontaneous GH secretion and biochemical measurements were investigated. Serum non-22 kDa GH levels, expressed as percentage of total GH concentration in the samples, were determined by the 22 kDa GH exclusion assay, in which monomeric and dimeric 22 kDa GH are removed from serum and the non-22 kDa GH isoforms are quantitated using a polyclonal antibody GH assay. Samples were selected from spontaneous GH peaks in 24-h GH profiles. For boys, the median proportion of non-22 kDa GH isoforms was 8.5% (range 3.2-26.6%) and for girls it was 9.6% (1.8-17.4%), with no influence of age and no sex-related difference in prepubertal (boys, 7.2%; girls, 8.8%) or pubertal children (boys, 9.1%; girls, 9.9%). However, the median proportion of non-22 kDa GH isoforms was significantly higher in pubertal boys (9.1%) than in prepubertal boys (7.2%; P = 0.03). In pubertal boys, height S.D. scores (SDS) were inversely correlated to the proportion of non-22 kDa GH isoforms (r = -0.38; P = 0.02), especially at mid-puberty (r = -0.7; P = 0.01), indicating that the presence of increased amounts of circulating non-22 kDa GH isoforms was associated with less growth. In prepubertal children, positive correlations between non-22 kDa GH and weight SDS (r = 0.46; P = 0.03), weight-for-height SDS (r = 0.51; P = 0.01) and body mass index (r = 0.42; P = 0.04) were observed. No significant correlations were seen with spontaneous GH secretion or measurements of IGF-1, IGF-binding protein-3, insulin and leptin. These findings in normal children indicate that the proportion of circulating non-22 kDa GH isoforms may have physiologic significance for growth and metabolism in different stages of development, and emphasize the importance of evaluating the circulating ratio of 22 kDa and non-22 kDa GH in children with growth disorders.

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M Boguszewski, J Dahlgren, R Bjarnason, S Rosberg, LM Carlsson, B Carlsson and K Albertsson-Wikland

The product of the obese (ob) gene, leptin, is an adipocyte-derived hormone that is involved in the regulation of appetite and body weight. This study was undertaken in order to describe the basal serum levels of leptin in prepubertal short children born small for gestational age (SGA) and their relationship with growth parameters, before and during growth hormone (GH) treatment. Eighty-nine prepubertal short children (66 boys, 23 girls; height standard deviation score (SDS), -5.4 to -2.0; age, 2.0 to 12.8 years) born SGA, 12 of whom (9 boys, 3 girls) had signs of Silver-Russell syndrome, were included in the study. Serum leptin concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. Leptin levels in the children born SGA were compared with those in a reference group of 109 prepubertal healthy children born at an appropriate size for gestational age (AGA). The mean (S.D.) change in height SDS was 0.11 (0.22) during the year before the start of GH therapy (0.1 IU/kg/day) and increased to 0.82 (0.44) during the first year (P < 0.001) and to 1.28 (0.59) during the 2-year period of GH therapy (P < 0.001). The children born SGA were significantly leaner than the reference group. An inverse correlation was found between leptin and chronological age in the SGA group (r = -0.31, P < 0.01). The mean serum level of leptin in the children born SGA who were older than 5.5 years of age was 2.8 micrograms/l which was significantly lower than the mean value of 3.7 micrograms/l found in the children born AGA of the same age range. The difference remained after adjustment of leptin levels for sex, age, body mass index (BMI) and weight-for-height SDS (WHSDSSDS). Leptin correlated with WHSDSSDS (r = 0.32, P < 0.001) and BMI (r = 0.36, P < 0.01) in the reference population, but not in the SGA group. No correlation was found between leptin and spontaneous 24-h GH secretion, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I or IGF-binding protein-3 levels, or with fasting insulin or cortisol levels. Leptin levels at the start of GH treatment were correlated with the growth response over both 1 year (r = 0.46, P < 0.001) and 2 years (r = 0.51, P < 0.001) of GH therapy. Using multiple regression analysis, models including leptin levels at the start of GH therapy could explain 51% of the variance in the growth response after 1 year and 44% after 2 years of GH treatment. In conclusion, serum leptin levels are reduced in short children born SGA and are inversely correlated with chronological age. Leptin concentrations correlate with the growth response to GH treatment and might be used as a marker for predicting the growth response to GH treatment.

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C Ankarberg-Lindgren, J Dahlgren, B Carlsson, S Rosberg, L Carlsson, KA Wikland and E Norjavaara

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the levels and diurnal rhythm of serum leptin in healthy children, and to investigate the association between leptin levels and sex steroids. METHODS: Four girls and four boys, all healthy volunteers, were followed longitudinally throughout puberty. Their chronological ages ranged from 8.7 to 19.5 years, and body composition, expressed as weight-for-height standard deviation scores (SDS), ranged between -1.7 and +2.4. Serum leptin, oestradiol and testosterone concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay at 1000, 1400, 1800, 2200, 0200 and 0600 h. RESULTS: In all girls and boys, both prepubertally and during pubertal development, serum leptin levels increased during the night, with no difference in relative peak amplitude. In boys, the leptin concentrations increased until the initiation of puberty and then declined, whereas in girls, the concentrations increased throughout puberty. The inter-individual variation in mean leptin levels among girls decreased to 11% at the time of menarche. A positive correlation was found for both oestradiol and testosterone versus leptin in girls throughout puberty (r=0.64 and r=0.71 respectively, P<0.001). A negative correlation was found between leptin and testosterone in boys in mid- and late puberty (r=-0.66, P<0.01). No correlation was found between oestradiol and leptin in boys or between testosterone and leptin in pre- and early pubertal boys. CONCLUSION: Serum leptin concentrations show diurnal variation throughout pubertal development in both girls and boys. The changes in leptin levels during puberty follow a gender-specific pattern, probably due to an influence of sex steroids on leptin production.

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R Bjarnason, M Boguszewski, J Dahlgren, L Gelander, B Kristrom, S Rosberg, B Carlsson, K Albertsson-Wikland and LM Carlsson

OBJECTIVE: Nutritional status is an important determinant of growth, and previous studies have indicated that this is due, at least in part, to an increased target-tissue sensitivity to GH. An attractive candidate for mediating this effect is leptin, a hormone secreted by the adipose tissue. The aim of this study was to investigate if there was a connection between GH-binding protein (GHBP) and leptin. DESIGN AND METHODS: We investigated the relationship between serum levels of leptin and those of GHBP in 229 prepubertal children. These included 107 healthy children with normal GH secretion, 55 GH-deficient (GHD) children and 55 children born small for gestational age (SGA) sampled on one occasion for GHBP and leptin, and 12 healthy children followed longitudinally at monthly interval for 1 year. RESULTS: In the healthy children and in those born SGA, the serum concentration of GHBP was positively correlated with that of leptin (r = 0.65, P < 0.001; r = 0.74, P < 0.001 respectively). There was no correlation between GHBP and leptin in the group of children with GHD (r = 0.27, not significant). This means that leptin alone explained 42% of the variation of GHBP in the healthy group and 55% in the SGA group. The correlation remained after adjustment for body mass index and age in the healthy children (r = 0.57, P < 0.0001, r2 = 0.33) and for children born SGA (r = 0.74, P < 0.0001, r2 = 0.55). There was a positive correlation between the intra-individual monthly changes in GHBP and changes in leptin respectively, in the 12 healthy children followed longitudinally, the mean of the correlation coefficients was 0.38 (median = 0.29; range 0.03 to 0.86; P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: There was a highly significant correlation between serum levels of leptin and those of GHBP, except in children with GHD. The possibility that leptin could mediate the effects of body fat mass on GH sensitivity, therefore, merits further investigation.