The relationship between growth hormone (GH)-replacement therapy and the thyroid axis in GH-deficient (GHD) children remains controversial. Furthermore, there have been few reports regarding non-GHD children. We aimed to determine the effect of GH therapy on thyroid function in GHD and non-GHD children and to assess whether thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test is helpful for the identification of central hypothyroidism before GH therapy. We retrospectively analyzed data from patients that started GH therapy between 2005 and 2015. The free thyroxine (FT4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations were measured before and during 24 months of GH therapy. The participants were 149 children appropriate for gestational age with GHD (IGHD: isolated GHD) (group 1), 29 small for gestational age (SGA) children with GHD (group 2), and 25 short SGA children (group 3). In groups 1 and 2, but not in group 3, serum FT4 concentration transiently decreased. Two IGHD participants exhibited central hypothyroidism during GH therapy, and required levothyroxine (LT4) replacement. They showed either delayed and/or prolonged responses to TRH stimulation tests before start of GH therapy. GH therapy had little pharmacological effect on thyroid function, similar changes in serum FT4 concentrations were not observed in participants with SGA but not GHD cases who were administered GH at a pharmacological dose. However, two IGHD participants showed central hypothyroidism and needed LT4 replacement therapy during GH therapy. TRH stimulation test before GH therapy could identify such patients and provoke careful follow-up evaluation of serum FT4 and TSH concentrations.
- growth hormone
- growth hormone deficiency
- small for gestational age
- thyroid function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism