Longitudinal and logistic analysis of endocrine hormone profiles, physical maturation, and candidate genes related to pubertal events in children
Children who experience early pubertal development have an increased risk of developing cancer (breast, ovarian, and testicular), osteoporosis, insulin resistance, and obesity as adults. Early pubertal development has been associated with depression, aggressiveness, and increased sexual prowess. Possible explanations for the decline in age of pubertal onset include genetics, exposure to environmental toxins, better nutrition, and a reduction in childhood infections. In this study we (1) evaluated the association between 415 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from hormonal pathways and early puberty, defined as menarche prior to age 12 in females and Tanner Stage 2 development prior to age 11 in males, and (2) measured endocrine hormone trajectories (estradiol, testosterone, and DHEAS) in relation to age, race, and Tanner Stage in a cohort of children from Project HeartBeat! At the end of the 4-year study, 193 females had onset of menarche and 121 males had pubertal staging at age 11. African American females had a younger mean age at menarche than Non-Hispanic White females. African American females and males had a lower mean age at each pubertal stage (1-5) than Non-Hispanic White females and males. African American females had higher mean BMI measures at each pubertal stage than Non-Hispanic White females. Of the 415 SNPs evaluated in females, 22 SNPs were associated with early menarche, when adjusted for race ( p<0.05), but none remained significant after adjusting for multiple testing by False Discovery Rate (p<0.00017). In males, 17 SNPs were associated with early pubertal development when adjusted for race (p<0.05), but none remained significant when adjusted for multiple testing (p<0.00017).
There were 4955 hormone measurements taken during the 4-year study period from 632 African American and Non-Hispanic White males and females. On average, African American females started and ended the pubertal process at a younger age than Non-Hispanic White females. The mean age of Tanner Stage 2 breast development in African American and Non-Hispanic White females was 9.7 (S.D.=0.8) and 10.2 (S.D.=1.1) years, respectively. There was a significant difference by race in mean age for each pubertal stage, except Tanner Stage 1 for pubic hair development. Both Estradiol and DHEAS levels in females varied significantly with age, but not by race. Estradiol and DHEAS levels increased from Tanner Stage 1 to Tanner Stage 5. African American males had a lower mean age at each Tanner Stage of development than Non-Hispanic White males. The mean age of Tanner Stage 2 genital development in African American and Non-Hispanic White males was 10.5 (S.D.=1.1) and 10.8 (S.D.=1.1) years, respectively, but this difference was not significant (p=0.11). Testosterone levels varied significantly with age and race. Non-Hispanic White males had higher levels of testosterone than African American males from Tanner Stage 1-4. Testosterone levels increased for both races from Tanner Stage 1 to Tanner Stage 5. Testosterone levels had the steepest increase from ages 11-15 for both races. DHEAS levels in males varied significantly with age, but not by race. DHEAS levels had the steepest increase from ages 14-17. In conclusion, African American males and females experience pubertal onset at a younger age than Non-Hispanic White males and females, but in this study, we could not find a specific gene that explained the observed variation in age of pubertal onset. Future studies with larger study populations may provide a better understanding of the contribution of genes in early pubertal onset.
Friedel, Victoria C, "Longitudinal and logistic analysis of endocrine hormone profiles, physical maturation, and candidate genes related to pubertal events in children" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3498276.