Thyroid function from birth to adolescence in Prader-Willi syndrome

Mohamad Sharkia, Stéphanie Michaud, Marie-Thérèse Berthier, Yves Giguère, Laura Stewart, Johnny Deladoëy, Cheri Deal, Guy Van Vliet, Jean-Pierre Chanoine
Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 163 (3): 800-5

OBJECTIVES: To describe the response of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to thyroid-releasing hormone in children and adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), and to compare TSH and total thyroxine (TT4) concentrations measured on neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism in children with PWS and controls.

STUDY DESIGN: All participants had genetically confirmed PWS. The TSH responses to thyroid-releasing hormone, free thyroxine (fT4), and free triiodothyronine (fT3) were measured in 21 subjects (14 females and 7 males; mean age, 6.4 years). Capillary TT4 was measured on neonatal screening samples from 23 subjects with PWS (14 females and 9 males), each of whom was matched for birth weight and sex with 4 anonymized controls.

RESULTS: One subject with PWS had tertiary hypothyroidism. TSH level increased from 1.37 mU/L at baseline to 39.6 mU/L at 20 minutes, 47.2 mU/L at 40 minutes, 44.5 mU/L at 60 minutes, and 47.2 mU/L at 120 minutes. fT4 concentration was 6.3 pmol/L, and fT3 concentration was 4.6 pmol/L. In the other 20 subjects, mean TSH level was 1.9 mU/L (range, 0.8-4.2 mU/L) at baseline and 21.8 mU/L (range, 10.0-46.7 mU/L) at 20 minutes (peak). Mean fT4 concentration (10.4 pmol/L; range, 8.2-13.5 pmol/L) was in the lower one-third of the normal range in 18 subjects, and mean fT3 concentration (6.1 pmol/L; range, 4.8-8.4 pmol/L) was above the median in 13 subjects. In neonates, mean TSH level was 3.1 mU/L (range, 0.4-10.0 mU/L) in subjects with PWS versus 3.3 mU/L (range, 0.0-7.0 mU/L) in controls, and mean TT4 in subjects with PWS was 111% (range, 17%-203%) that of controls (P = not significant).

CONCLUSION: Thyroid function was normal in our newborn subjects. In older children, frank hypothyroidism was found in only 1 of our 21 subjects. Thus, levothyroxine treatment should not be routinely prescribed to youth with PWS.

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