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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


OLIVEIRA, Ana Tereza de A. et al. Evaluation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in children with Down syndrome. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.4, pp.295-300. ISSN 0021-7557.

Objective: to determine the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion in children with Down syndrome (DS), who do not present clinical and laboratory evidence of classical hypothyroidism and concomitant undetectable antibodies. Methods: fourteen children with DS with a mean age of 3.4 (±1.8) years were studied. Patients with classical hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism or those with positive antithyroid antibodies were excluded. The DS group was compared to a control group of 16 children with a mean age of 11.8 (±3.8) years, diagnosed as having familial short stature or constitutional growth delay. Both groups underwent hormonal measurements at basal condition to determine serum TSH, T3, T4, free T4 and prolactin concentrations and after stimulation with thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). Thyroid hormones concentrations were also compared when children with DS were subdivided into two groups according to their basal TSH levels. Results: basal TSH and prolactin levels were significantly higher in DS group. After stimulation with TRH, TSH peak was higher in the DS group. The number of patients presenting basal TSH levels higher than 5 µU/mL and TSH peaks higher than 30 µU/mL were significantly higher in the DS group. Conclusions: children with Down syndrome present frequent increase in basal TSH concentrations, despite the presence of normal basal thyroid hormones levels and negative antithyroid antibodies. Most of them (65%) show early intense response after TRH stimulation. Our data demonstrate that in spite of the absence of classic hypothyroidism and/or antithyroid antibodies, an abnormal pattern of TSH secretion occurred in patients with Down syndrome, possibly related to hypothalamic dysfunction.

Keywords : hypothyroidism; Down syndrome; TSH.

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