Effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on postnatal growth and the insulin-like growth factor axis

Sofía Aros, James L. Mills, Germán Iñiguez, Alejandra Avila, Mary R. Conley, James Troendle, Christopher Cox, Fernando Cassorla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims: To study the effect of in-utero alcohol exposure on the insulin-like growth factor axis (IGF) and leptin during infancy and childhood, considering that exposed children may exhibit pre- and postnatal growth retardation. Methods: We prospectively identified heavily drinking pregnant women who consumed on average 4 or more drinks of ethanol per day (≥48 g/day) and assessed growth in 69 of their offspring and an unexposed control group of 83 children, measuring serum IGF-I (radioimmunoassay), IGF-II (immunoradiometric assay, IRMA), insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) (IRMA) and leptin (IRMA) at 1 month and 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years of age. Results: IGF-II levels increased with age in both groups, but the rate of increase was significantly higher in exposed children, and levels were significantly higher in ethanol-exposed children at 3, 4, and 5 years of age. In exposed children, IGF-I levels were higher at 3 and 4 years and leptin levels were significantly lower at 1 and 2 years. Exposed subjects showed a much lower correlation between IGF-I and growth parameters than unexposed subjects. Conclusion: Exposure to ethanol during pregnancy increases IGF-I and IGF-II and decreases leptin during early childhood. The increase in serum IGF-II concentrations in ethanol-exposed children suggests that this hormone should be explored as a potential marker for prenatal alcohol exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalHormone Research in Paediatrics
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Insulin-like growth factor I
  • Insulin-like growth factor II
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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