Gonadal steroids drive the significant bone mineral increase that occurs at puberty. Oestrogen deprivation in women results in bone loss. We investigated bone mineralization by single photon absorptiometry in girls with central precocious puberty (n = 13, age 3.8-8.5 years) before and during 1 year of treatment with gonadotropin releasing hormone analogue (GnRH-a = long-acting D-Trp6-GnRH, 60 mug i.m. every 28 days). Before GnRH-a therapy, bone mineral density (BMD) was significantly higher in patients than in ten control girls matched for chronological age (patients 0. 575 +/- 0.097 g/cm2, controls 0.433 +/- 0.049 g/cm2, p < 0.001). Patient BMD was not significantly different from that of ten control girls matched according to patient bone age (0. 550 +/- 0.046 g/CM2, P = NS). During GnRH-a treatment, pituitary-gonadal axis was suppressed and patient BMD significantly decreased (6 months: -6.0%, P < 0.002 vs baseline; 12 months: -8.0%, P < 0.001 vs baseline). We conclude that in girls with precocious puberty the activation of gonadal steroid secretion induces an increase in bone mineralization and that oestrogen deprivation by GnRH-a treatment caused a significant decrease in BMD.
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