Growth Hormone Treatment Leads to More Normalized Timing of Puberty Onset

In children with isolated growth hormone deficiency, growth hormone treatment accelerates the onset of puberty to timing more typical among healthy children, although earlier treatment does not increase predicted height in adulthood more than later treatment, according to a new study.

“Although growth hormone treatment was suggested to accelerate the onset of puberty, treatment normalized only the onset of puberty that was delayed without treatment and did not accelerate the onset of puberty as much as precocious puberty,” the researchers wrote.

The study included 135 boys and 89 girls with isolated growth hormone deficiency at Tanaka Growth Clinic in Japan. Among them, 83 boys and 51 girls started growth hormone treatment earlier than the average age at onset of puberty.

According to the study, age of puberty onset correlated positively to the age at the start of growth hormone treatment. When the researchers divided participants into 2 groups according to the age they started treatment, age at puberty onset was significantly lower among girls who started treatment before age 7 years and boys who started treatment before age 8 years.

“The group of patients who started treatment early reached puberty early,” the researchers wrote. “These results indicate that growth hormone treatment affects the onset of puberty.”

Supplemental analysis that compared heights at the onset of puberty in children who started growth hormone treatment at earlier ages with children treated at later ages found that heights did not significantly differ between the 2 groups. The finding suggests that earlier treatment would not increase adult height further, the researchers noted.

“However, early diagnosis and treatment are recommended since the early achievement of a normal height by early treatment leads to the early improvement of psychosocial problems due to short stature,” they advised.

—Jolynn Tumolo


Tanaka T, Soneda S, Sato N, Kishi K, Noda M, Ogasawara A. Early growth hormone treatment accelerates delayed onset of puberty in patients with growth hormone deficiency. Endocr J. Published online September 29, 2021.