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Martin O Savage, Cecilia Camacho-Hübner, Alessia David, Louise A Metherell, Vivian Hwa, Ron G Rosenfeld and Adrian J L Clark

Background: Idiopathic short stature (ISS) includes a range of conditions. Some are caused by defects in the GH–IGF-I axis. ISS is an approved indication for GH therapy in the USA and a similar approval in Europe may be imminent. Genetic analysis for single-gene defects has made enormous contributions to understanding the physiology of growth regulation. Can this type of investigation help in predicting growth responses to GH or IGF-I therapy?

Methods: The rationale for choice of GH or IGF-I therapy in ISS is reviewed. Many ISS patients have low IGF-I, but most can generate IGF-I levels in response to short-term GH administration. Some GH resistance seems to be present. Mutation analysis in several cohorts of GHIS and ISS patients is reviewed.

Results: Low IGF-I levels suggest either unrecognised GH deficiency or GH resistance. In classical GHIS patients, there was a positive relationship between IGFBP-3 levels and height SDS. No relationship exists between mutations and phenotype. There is a wide variability of phenotype in patients carrying identical mutations. Heterozygous GH receptor (GHR) mutations were present in <5% of ISS patients and their role in causing growth defects is questionable. Exceptions are dominant negative mutations that have been shown to disturb growth.

Conclusions: Analysis for single-gene defects does not give sensitive predictions of phenotype and cannot predict responses to GH or IGF-I therapy. Endocrine abnormalities have closer correlations with phenotype and may thus be a better guide to therapeutic responsiveness.

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Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, Marco Guevara-Aguirre, Vivian Hwa, Patricio Prócel, Jeannette Saavedra, Harry Ostrer, Peng Fang, Ron G Rosenfeld, Sarah Kerns and Arlan L Rosenbloom

Objective

To describe the clinical and biochemical features, and perform molecular analysis for candidate abnormalities in a novel familial syndrome of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), failure of an adolescent growth spurt with proportional adult short stature, minimal subluxation of the 5th metacarpal–phalangeal joint, and adult-onset insulin-resistant diabetes unrelated to obesity or other manifestations of metabolic syndrome (MS).

Design

Detailed clinical history, auxological, biochemical, radiological, and molecular studies, including DNA analysis and in vitro study of the GH/IGF1 pathway.

Materials and methods

Ten affected adults from two generations of five related families were studied in detail, and information obtained about nine other likely affected individuals.

Results

Height Z-scores ranged from −7.3 to −3.8. Unaffected parents of the older generation and frequency of confirmed and suspected instances of the syndrome in the two generations studied is consistent with autosomal recessive inheritance. Insulin resistance was uniformly present in seven subjects tested who were not taking insulin. Diabetes severity did not correlate with overweight. Subjects did not have other typical manifestations of MS such as substantial hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis, or hypertension. No biochemical abnormality in the GH/IGF1 axis or molecular defect was found.

Conclusions

While the association of IUGR and adult MS, including diabetes, has been well documented, these subjects did not have typical manifestations of MS. Abnormalities in common components that could result in a combination of IUGR, severe postnatal growth, and insulin resistance have been ruled out. A mutation in an unidentified gene may affect intrauterine and postnatal growth, with insulin resistance directly affected or as a result of this growth phenomenon.

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Masanobu Fujimoto, Jane C Khoury, Philip R Khoury, Bhanu Kalra, Ajay Kumar, Patrick Sluss, Claus Oxvig, Vivian Hwa and Andrew Dauber

Objective

Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A2 (PAPP-A2) is a metalloproteinase that cleaves IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-5. Human mutations in PAPPA2 result in short stature with a low percentage of free IGF-I. Little is known about PAPP-A2 levels and the regulation of free IGF-I throughout childhood. We examined PAPP-A2 and intact IGFBP-3 levels in childhood and explored associations between PAPP-A2, free and total IGF-I, and total and intact IGFBP-3 and their relationship to the percentage of free to total IGF-I and anthropometric factors.

Design

Cross-sectional study at a single center.

Methods

PAPP-A2, free IGF-I, and intact IGFBP-3 levels were measured in childhood (3–18 years old) and an evaluation of the relationship between these proteins and anthropometric factors.

Results

In 838 children, PAPP-A2 consistently decreased throughout childhood. In contrast, free IGF-I increased. A pubertal peak in free IGF-I was present in females but was less evident in males. Intact and total IGFBP-3 increased throughout childhood; however, intact IGFBP-3 had a more marked rise than total IGFBP-3. Percent free IGF-I decreased with no distinct pubertal peak. PAPP-A2 levels positively correlated with the percent free IGF-I (Male, Female; r = 0.18, 0.38; P < 0.001) and negatively with intact IGFBP-3 (Male, Female; r = −0.58, −0.65; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

This is the first study to describe serum PAPP-A2 and intact IGFBP-3 in children between 3 and 18 years of age. Our correlative findings suggest that PAPP-A2 is an important regulator of the percent free IGF-I which can be a marker of perturbations in the GH/IGF-I axis.

Free access

Renata C Scalco, Vivian Hwa, Horacio M Domené, Héctor G Jasper, Alicia Belgorosky, Roxana Marino, Alberto M Pereira, Carlos A Tonelli, Jan M Wit, Ron G Rosenfeld and Alexander A L Jorge

Context and objective

GH insensitivity with immune dysfunction caused by STAT5B mutations is an autosomal recessive condition. Heterozygous mutations in other genes involved in growth regulation were previously associated with a mild height reduction. Our objective was to assess for the first time the phenotype of heterozygous STAT5B mutations.

Methods

We genotyped and performed clinical and laboratory evaluations in 52 relatives of two previously described Brazilian brothers with homozygous STAT5B c.424_427del mutation (21 heterozygous). Additionally, we obtained height data and genotype from 1104 adult control individuals from the same region in Brazil and identified five additional families harboring the same mutation (18 individuals, 11 heterozygous). Furthermore, we gathered the available height data from first-degree relatives of patients with homozygous STAT5B mutations (17 individuals from seven families). Data from heterozygous individuals and non-carriers were compared.

Results

Individuals carrying heterozygous STAT5B c.424_427del mutation were 0.6 SDS shorter than their non-carrier relatives (P=0.009). Heterozygous subjects also had significantly lower SDS for serum concentrations of IGF1 (P=0.028) and IGFBP3 (P=0.02) than their non-carrier relatives. The 17 heterozygous first-degree relatives of patients carrying homozygous STAT5B mutations had an average height SDS of −1.4±0.8 when compared with population-matched controls (P< 0.001).

Conclusions

STAT5B mutations in the heterozygous state have a significant negative impact on height (∼3.9 cm). This effect is milder than the effect seen in the homozygous state, with height usually within the normal range. Our results support the hypothesis that heterozygosity of rare pathogenic variants contributes to normal height heritability.