OBJECTIVE - We hypothesized that there would be evidence of functional ovarian hyperandrogenism in girls with premature pubarche (PP) at diagnosis.
METHODS - White girls <8 years of age and black girls <6 years with PP (n = 15) were studied. Prepubertal girls (n = 13; 5.3-10.9 years) and early pubertal girls (n = 8) served as control subjects. The biochemical marker for functional ovarian hyperandrogenism was the 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), androstenedione (AD), and estradiol (E2) response to subcutaneous leuprolide during adrenal suppression with dexamethasone. This was studied in girls with PP and in control subjects.
RESULTS - ACTH stimulated 17-hydroxypregnenolone (17-OH Preg), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and AD levels, and 17-OH Preg:17-OHP and DHEA:AD ratios were significantly higher in girls with PP than in prepubertal control subjects (n = 18) (P < or =.003). The ovarian response to leuprolide stimulation was comparable in girls with PP and prepubertal control subjects, but the response in prepubertal study subjects was significantly lower than in pubertal control subjects (P =.016 for Delta17-OHP, P =.001 for DeltaAD, and P =.026 for DeltaE2).
CONCLUSIONS - Contrary to the hypothesis, PP in girls was not associated with prepubertal evidence of ovarian hyperandrogenism but was associated with functional adrenal hyperandrogenism.