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Morphological Changes Of The Cerebral Cortex Between Children With Isolated Growth Hormone Deficiency And Idiopathic Short Stature

Zhonghe Zhang, Yu Wang, S. Liu
Published 2020 · Biology, Medicine

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The growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) axis plays an important role in normal brain development, and GH deficiency inevitably affects the growth of the cerebral cortex. This study was designed to analyze morphological differences in gray matter volume, cortical surface area, and gray matter thickness between children with isolated growth hormone deficiency (IGHD) and children with idiopathic short stature (ISS). Twenty-four children with IGHD (mean age 9.42 years, peak GH < 5 μg/l) and 24 controls with ISS (mean age 9.21 years, peak GH > 10 μg/l) were included. High-resolution three-dimensional T1-weighted MRIs were acquired at participants' first visit. Measurements of gray matter volume, cortical surface area and gray matter thickness were obtained using FreeSurfer. The total and regional differences between groups were statistically analyzed. Correlations between the FreeSurfer results and GH and IGF-I levels were also obtained. The gray matter volume, cortical surface area and gray matter thickness of the total brain and of the bilateral hemispheres of children with IGHD were significantly smaller than those of children with ISS (all P values<0.05). All the measurements had similar cortical distributions between groups but varied across regions. Cortical regions with significant differences in the mean gray matter volume and surface area were mainly distributed around the bilateral central sulci and the lateral and basal parts of the temporal lobes (all P values<0.05). There were negative correlations between gray matter volume, cortical surface area and GH levels, and the right hemispheric and total cortical surface area correlated significantly with GH levels (all P values<0.05) in children with IGHD. There were significant positive correlations between gray matter volume, cortical surface area and IGF-I levels (all P values<0.05) in both groups, except for in left hemispheric gray matter volume in children with ISS. Children with IGHD have significant morphological changes in the cerebral cortex, which were partially influenced by GH and IGF-I levels. These cortical changes may be related to deficits in their relatively slower development in intelligence, motor performance, and other functions.
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