Sex steroids are important contributors to the pubertal growth spurt. Both androgens and estrogens have been related to this moment of rapid growth, but the role of estrogens is thought to be the most important one. Since exogenous estrogens are not capable to induce an appropriate growth spurt in girls, there might be an additional contributing factor involved. In a recent pilot study of 32 healthy pubertal girls, we found that the peak height velocity (HV) is preceded by relatively high levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and androstenedione (Δ4A) as compared with the end-pubertal level. In the present study we evaluated HV in relation to dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and Δ4A levels in 149 healthy girls of various Tanner stages. HV was correlated with Δ4A and estradiol levels in Tanner stages I-III. These results suggest that, like estrogens, Δ4A might be an important stimulator of the female growth spurt.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate