Bone metabolism and circulating IGF-I and IGFBPs in dexamethasone-treated preterm infants

Wendy E. Ward, Stephanie A. Atkinson, Sharon M. Donovan, Bosco Paes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To characterize the ontogeny of circulating IGF-I, the IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) and biochemical markers of bone turnover in dexamethasone (DEX)-treated preterm infants with chronic lung disease. Methods: Plasma and urine samples from 17 infants were obtained prior to DEX, after 9-12 days of DEX and 10 days after the completion of DEX to assess plasma IGF-I, IGFBPs, osteocalcin and urinary N-telopeptide. Nutrient intakes and growth were monitored from birth until term corrected age at which time body composition was evaluated by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: Although nutrient intakes did not differ during or after DEX, weight gain (115 vs. 174 g/week) and length gain (0.7 vs. 1.0 cm/week) were higher after DEX treatment. Plasma IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and osteocalcin increased over time. N-telopeptide was the only biochemical parameter which appeared to be suppressed during DEX (1342 nM bone collagen equivalents/mM creatinine vs. 2486 (pre-DEX) and 2292 (post-DEX)). At term corrected age, bone mineral content was lower in dexamethasone-treated infants compared to preterm and term reference infants. Conclusion: Changes in circulating IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 paralleled the changes reported in non-steroid-treated infants; however, it remains uncertain whether the natural rise in IGF-I was suppressed by DEX treatment. Assessment of these circulating components provided limited insight into the mechanisms by which DEX alters growth and bone turnover. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-141
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Bone
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Dexamethasone
  • IGF-I
  • Premature infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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