Impact of Disorders of Gonadal Function in Childhood and Adolescence on Growth Patterns and Outcomes

  • Margaret Zacharin


Height achieved by the end of adolescence depends on normal nutrition, adequate growth factors, intact gonadal function with normal progress through puberty, together with maintenance of adult sex hormone levels and bones that are capable of response. Adequate gonadal function is the most important determinant of outcome of linear growth and bone health by the end of adolescence. As outcomes of chronic and life-threatening childhood illness improve, the focus increasingly shifts to maximizing long-term health outcomes. Many disorders adversely impact upon gonadal function, including both primary gonadal abnormalities and problems secondary to chronic illness or to treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or long-term transfusion needs. Timing of onset of a disease process, degree of systemic ill health and specific adverse effects on bone growth all alter overall impact on the individual. Growth patterns may change as gonadal dysfunction evolves. Understanding the variations in linear growth pattern due to disorders and their treatments alerts the paediatrician to a need for timely intervention. Disorders of pubertal onset, precocious or delayed, may be accompanied by significant psychosocial and emotional disturbance. Physician awareness of need for psychological support is essential. Ethical issues concerning choices for treatment modality made by parents on behalf of their children require consideration. A detailed understanding of the pivotal issue of promoting gonadal health and maintaining function for the future is essential for good-quality long-term health outcomes.


Linear Growth Growth Hormone Deficiency Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Turner Syndrome Final Height 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Adrenocorticotrophic hormone


Anti-Mullerian hormone


Congenital adrenal hyperplasia


Follicle-stimulating hormone


Growth hormone


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone


G protein receptor


Guanosine triphosphatase


Human chorionic gonadotrophin


Hypothalamic hypogonadism


Hypothalamic–pituitary axis


Hormone replacement treatment


Immunoglobulin A


Insulin-like growth factor 1


Luteinizing hormone


Osteogenesis imperfecta


Steroidogenic factor 1


Thyroid-stimulating hormone



The growth charts have been adapted, with permission, from standard growth charts produced by Pfizer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology and DiabetesThe Royal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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