Reference values for serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 in Korean children and adolescents

Sei Eun Hyun, Byung Churl Lee, Byung Kyu Suh, So Chung Chung, Cheol Woo Ko, Heung Sik Kim, Kee Hyoung Lee, Sei Won Yang, Choong Ho Shin, Jin Soon Hwang, Duk Hee Kim, Baek Keun Lim, Jong Duck Kim, Han Wook Yoo, Hye Soon Kim, Woo Yeong Chung, Mi Jung Park, Young Jong Woo, Chan Jong Kim, Dae Yeol LeeEun Young Kim, Jin Ho Choi, Heon Seok Han, Il Tae Hwang, Ho Seong Kim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    57 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Measurements of serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) are utilized in the diagnostic work-up and clinical management of children with growth disorders. We designed this study to establish the reference values of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels according to age, sex and pubertal stage in Korean children and adolescents. Methods: For the study, 1378 healthy Korean children and adolescents aged 0 to 17. years (722 boys, 656 girls) were randomly selected. Blood samples were collected, and the stored sera were assayed for IGF-I and IGFBP-3 using immunoradiometric assay (IRMA, Immunotech). The R 2.8.1 program (Bell Laboratories) was used to generate reference percentile curves for IGF-I and IGFBP-3 according to age, sex, and pubertal stage. Results: Serum IGFBP-3 level was higher in girls compared to that in boys of the same ages throughout the pubertal period, whereas IGF-I was only higher for girls younger than 13. years of age. Serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 increased steadily with age in the prepubertal stage, followed by a progressive decline thereafter. Peak levels of serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were observed two years earlier in girls compared to those in boys (13 vs. 15. years of age, respectively). Serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentrations were highest at Tanner stage IV in boys and girls, with a subsequent decline. Conclusions: Our reference value model based on age, sex, and pubertal stage can improve the diagnostic utility of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels in the evaluation and management of Korean children and adolescents with growth disorders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-21
    Number of pages6
    JournalClinical Biochemistry
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by a grant from the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences (to HK).


    • Adolescent
    • Child
    • IGF-I
    • IGFBP-3
    • Korean

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Biochemistry


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