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B Arguelles, V Barrios, M Buno, L Madero and J Argente

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to follow auxological parameters and their relationship to serum growth hormone-binding protein (GHBP) and leptin levels in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). DESIGN AND METHODS: In total, 26 prepubertal children with ALL were studied. We report these data at the time of the clinical diagnosis (n=26) and at 6 (n=21), 12 (n=21), 18 (n=21), 24 (n=20), 30 (n=16) and 36 months (n=16) after beginning treatment. RESULTS: Serum GHBP levels decreased during the first 18 months and returned to normal when therapy was withdrawn. Height SDS increased at 24 months after diagnosis. Weight and the upper arm circumference had increased 6 months after chemotherapy withdrawal, whereas tricipital and subscapular skinfolds had increased both at 6 months after diagnosis and 6 months after therapy had stopped. Therefore, the tendency to become overweight is both an early and a late side-effect of anti-leukemia therapy. A significant positive correlation was found between serum leptin levels and every nutritional anthropometric parameter, with body mass index having the best relationship. However, serum GHBP levels were only correlated with BMI at the end of the study. No correlation was found between leptin and GHBP. CONCLUSIONS: In children with ALL, linear growth is compromised during the acute phase of their illness and therapy; this is probably secondary to a state of partial and transient GH insensitivity. These patients tend to become obese after therapy withdrawal, with leptin being an excellent nutritional marker.

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V Barrios, J Argente, MT Munoz, J Pozo, JA Chowen and M Hernandez

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the possible utility of measuring acid-labile subunit (ALS) in some types of pathologies in which the IGF system is altered and to compare it with the clinical implications of measurements of other components of this axis. DESIGN AND METHODS: We studied serum ALS concentrations in 20 children with normal variants of short stature (NVSS) at diagnosis and 24 with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), 18 obese patients and 18 girls with anorexia nervosa at diagnosis and during a follow-up period. RESULTS: In patients with GHD and anorexia nervosa, mean ALS concentrations were significantly reduced, but there was a high percentage of overlap with control values. At diagnosis, ALS concentrations were normal in obese patients and children with NVSS. During follow-up, these values normalized in children with GHD who were treated with GH, tended to normalize in those with anorexia nervosa who showed weight gain, and did not change in obese children upon weight loss. However, ALS measurement was less accurate than that of IGF-I or IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3 in diagnosis of GHD. The correlations found between ALS and some IGF system components at diagnosis either decreased or were non-significant during follow-up of these clinical conditions. CONCLUSION: ALS adds little information to that obtained with IGF-I and IGFBP-3 determinations.

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L Soriano-Guillen, V Barrios, G Martos, JA Chowen, A Campos-Barros and J Argente

OBJECTIVE: Coexpression of GH secretagogue receptor and ghrelin in the pancreas suggests that this peptide is involved in glucose metabolism. Previous reports in adult humans have demonstrated that plasma ghrelin levels decrease after oral glucose administration. However, no data are available in children. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the response of plasma ghrelin levels in obese children after oral glucose administration. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Twenty-eight obese children ranging from Tanner I to Tanner V were studied. All subjects were given 0.75 g/kg (maximum 75 g) glucose solution after overnight fasting. Ghrelin, insulin, glucose and IGF-binding-protein-1 were determined at 0, 30, 60 and 120 min of the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). RESULTS: Basal plasma ghrelin levels were significantly lower than in the respective control groups. These levels decreased significantly during OGTT in obese children, reaching a nadir of 28+/-9% at 60 min in parallel with the maximum increase in glucose levels and previous to maximum insulin levels. CONCLUSION: The rapid fall in plasma ghrelin concentration in obese children after glucose load suggests a mechanism for the control of appetite after food intake.

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MT Munoz, C de la Piedra, V Barrios, G Garrido and J Argente

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to compare physical activity and biochemical markers with bone mineral acquisition in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers. METHODS: Weight, height, body mass index, nutritional intake, bone age and menstrual histories were analyzed in nine rhythmic gymnasts, twelve ballet dancers and fourteen controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine, hip and radius. Bone alkaline phosphatase (bAP) and amino-terminal propeptide of procollagen I (PNIP) in serum and urinary alpha-isomer of the carboxy-terminal telopeptide of collagen I (alpha-CTX) were measured. RESULTS: Bone age was delayed 2 years and mean age at menarche was 15+/-0.9 years in rhythmic gymnasts and 13.7+/-1 years in ballet dancers, compared with 12.5+/-1 years in controls. Trocanteric and femoral neck BMD was significantly higher in rhythmic gymnasts compared with ballet dancers and controls. Right forearm (non-loaded zone) BMD was significantly decreased in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers compared with controls. All subjects had normal bAP and PNIP levels, but the alpha-CTX/creatinine (Cr) ratio was increased in rhythmic gymnasts (P<0.001) with an inverse correlation between right forearm BMD and the alpha-CTX/Cr ratio (r=-0.74, P<0.001). Serum leptin levels were decreased in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers. Rhythmic gymnasts had a positive correlation between right forearm BMD and leptin levels (r=0.85, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Decreased bone mass in rhythmic gymnasts could be partially explained by an increase in bone resorption. Serum leptin levels could be implicated in the pubertal delay and be a good marker of bone mass in these subjects.

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M A Donoso, M T Muñoz-Calvo, V Barrios, G Garrido, F Hawkins and J Argente


Ballet dancers (BDs) have a negative energy balance related to physical training that results in alterations in body composition, sexual development, and adipokine secretion. Our aims were to study anthropometric parameters, body composition, and their relationship with adipokines throughout pubertal development.

Subjects and methods

We carried out a prospective follow-up study of 22 female Caucasian BDs (Tanner II stage) followed throughout puberty. Nutritional status was determined by measurement of height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). We calculated growth velocity, bone maturity, and body composition at Tanner stages II, III, and V by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Circulating leptin, adiponectin, and soluble leptin receptor (sObR) levels were determined.


BDs presented a delay in skeletal maturation during puberty, without affectation of final height. Energy intake was deficient according to their physical exercise, and they had a delay of 1 year in the mean age of menarche. Leptin levels were decreased, whereas sObR and adiponectin levels were increased throughout puberty. The percentage of trunk fat, total fat mass, and fat of the extremities was decreased throughout the study period (P<0.01). Lean mass was increased in the lower extremities, and bone mineral density was normal.


A negative energy balance together with maintained physical exercise induced modifications in body composition in BDs. Changes in leptin and adiponectin levels appear to be more related to total fat content than to BMI. Furthermore, the onset and delayed progress of puberty may be related with an inadequate energy balance due to increased exercise.