Growth and the growth hormone axis in prepubertal children with asthma.
Crowley S., Hindmarsh PC., Matthews DR., Brook CG.
To determine the influence of asthma and its treatment with inhaled corticosteroids on growth, linear growth velocity, and the growth hormone axis in prepubertal children, we performed a longitudinal study for 12 months in 56 children with asthma, aged between 4.4 and 11.7 years. Height, weight, skin-fold thickness, and lung function were measured every 3 months and bone age at entry to and exit from the study. A 24-hour serum growth hormone concentration profile and fasting insulin-like growth factor I levels were measured halfway through the year. Seventy-four percent of boys and 62% of girls had heights below the 50th percentile. Growth velocity in the nonsteroid-treated control group (n = 13) was normal; 10 of 20 children taking beclomethasone grew slowly (14/20 used a dry powder device), and 4 of 19 children taking budesonide grew slowly (15/19 used a spacer). Three of four children using inhaled steroids and prednisolone grew slowly. In none of the treatment groups were measures of growth hormone secretion or levels of radioimmunoassayable serum insulin-like growth factor I affected. We conclude that slow growth in steroid-treated children with asthma does not appear to be associated with major perturbations in the growth hormone axis.