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Protein markers predict body composition during growth hormone treatment in short prepubertal children


Correspondence: Ralph Decker, Gothenburg Pediatric Growth Research Centre, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, 41685 Göteborg, Sweden. Tel.: +46 31 342100; Fax: +46 31 848652;




A high-throughput pharmaco-proteomic approach has previously been successfully used to identify lipoprotein biomarkers related to changes in longitudinal growth and bone mass in response to growth hormone (GH) treatment.

The aim of this study was to identify protein markers involved in the diverse anabolic and lipolytic remodelling of body composition during GH treatment.

Design, patients and measurements

The study population consisted of 128 prepubertal children receiving GH treatment. Thirty-nine were short as a result of GH deficiency, and 89 had idiopathic short stature (ISS). Serum protein expression profiles at study start and after 1 year of GH treatment were analysed using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS). Body composition was analysed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), reliably estimating muscle mass from appendicular (arms and legs) lean soft tissue mass (LST). DXA was also used to estimate appendicular bone mineral content (BMC) and fat mass for the total body.


Specific protein expression patterns associated with GH response in different body compartments were identified. Among identified proteins, different isoforms of nutrition markers such as apolipoproteins (Apo) were recognized: Apo C-I, Apo A-II, serum amyloid A4 (SAA4) and transthyretin (TTR). In addition, unidentified peaks were associated with GH effects on specific body compartments.


Our results suggest that unique protein markers are associated with remodelling of different body compartments during GH treatment, which in the future might be useful to optimize GH treatment not only with regard to longitudinal growth.