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Salivary Bioscience News

Salivary Cortisol and DHEA are Inversely Correlated with Early Postnatal Growth and Blood Pressure in Extremely Preterm Children

Adrenal function links to early postnatal growth and blood pressure at age 6 in children born extremely preterm

Author: Watterberg KL, et al. (2018), Pediatric Research.

BACKGROUND: Low birth weight in term-born individuals correlates with adverse cardiometabolic outcomes; excess glucocorticoid exposure has been linked to these relationships. We hypothesized that cortisol and adrenal androgens would correlate inversely with birthweight and directly with markers of cardiometabolic risk in school-aged children born extremely preterm; further, preterm-born would have increased cortisol and adrenal androgens compared to term-born children.
METHODS: Saliva samples were obtained at age 6 from 219 preterm-born children followed since birth and 40 term-born children and analyzed for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol. Cortisol was also measured at home (awakening, 30′ later, evening).
RESULTS: For preterm-born children, cortisol and DHEA correlated inversely with weight and length Z-scores at 36 weeks PMA and positively with systolic BP. DHEA was higher in preterm-born than term-born children (boys p < 0.01; girls p = 0.04). Cortisol was similar between preterm-born and term-born at study visit; however, preterm-born children showed a blunted morning cortisol. In term-born children, DHEA correlated with BMI (p = 0.04), subscapular, and abdominal skinfold thicknesses (both p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Cortisol and DHEA correlated inversely with early postnatal growth and directly with systolic BP in extremely preterm-born children, suggesting perinatal programming. Blunted morning cortisol may reflect NICU stress, as seen after other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

View Abstract

Keywords: Salivary cortisol, salivary DHEA, blood pressure, preterm children.

*Note: Salimetrics provides this information for research use only (RUO). Information is not provided to promote off-label use of medical devices. Please consult the full-text article.

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