Moving Toward an Understanding of Hormone Replacement Therapy in Adolescent Girls

Looking through the Lens of Turner Syndrome


Address for correspondence: Marsha L. Davenport, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, CB #7039, 3341 MBRB, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-7039. Voice: +1-919-966-4435 × 232; fax: +1-919-966-2423.


Turner syndrome (TS) is a relatively common disorder of phenotypic females caused by loss of all or part of the second sex chromosome. Most individuals with TS have short stature and gonadal dysgenesis and are at risk for many other medical and learning problems. In the 45,X ovary, germs cells multiply quite normally during fetal development, but there is accelerated atresia of oocytes in the second half of pregnancy that produces gonadal insufficiency by birth. In girls with other karyotypes, especially those mosaic for 45,X/46,XX, gonadal function may be normal or near-normal. In this chapter, management goals for gonadal insufficiency in girls with TS are presented. The effects of estrogen deficiency and its replacement on three specific problems associated with TS—short stature, cardiovascular disease, and developmental differences in brain structure and function—are explored. General guidelines for estrogen replacement therapy using transdermal estrogen, the most physiologic option, are provided and future research goals are outlined.