High postnatal growth hormone levels are related to cognitive deficits in a group of children born very preterm

Shannon E. Scratch, Peter J. Anderson, Lex W. Doyle, Deanne K. Thompson, Zohra M. Ahmadzai, Ronda F. Greaves, Terrie E. Inder, Rodney W. Hunt

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Context and Objectives: Little is known regarding the influence of GH on brain development, especially in infants born very preterm (VP; <30 weeks' gestation). Preterm infants are thought to have higher levels of GH in the first days of life compared with full-term infants. VP infants experience cognitive difficulties in childhood and have a diffuse pattern of structural brain abnormalities. This study aimed to explore the relationship between postnatal GH concentrations following VP birth and its association with cognitive functioning and brain volumes at age 7 years. Methods: Eighty-three infants born VP had GH concentrations measured at eight time points postnatally, and 2- and 6-week area under the curve (AUC) summary measures were calculated. Followup at age 7 years included neuropsychological assessment and brain magnetic resonance imaging. Univariable and multivariable regression modeling were used where AUC for GH was the main predictor of neurodevelopmental outcome at age 7 years. Results: Univariable modeling revealed that higherGHlevels (2-week AUC) were related to poorer performance on a verbal working memory (P=.04) and shifting attention task (P=.01). These relationships persisted on multivariable modeling and when the 6-week AUC was analyzed; working memory (P=.03), immediate spatial memory (P=.02), and delayed spatial memory (P=.03) deficits were found. Higher GH levels were also associated with larger amygdala volumes after adjustment for potential confounders (P=.002, 2-week AUC; P=.03, 6-week AUC). Conclusions: Higher postnatal GH levels may potentially contribute to the documented neurodevelopmental abnormalities seen in children born VP at school age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2709-2717
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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