Cutaneous parameters such as dermal thickness, stiffness, elasticity, skin surface lipid and hydration were evaluated using noninvasive methods in 77 growth hormone-deficient (GHD) children before replacement therapy and in 70 non-GHD children. We showed that in GHD children, dermis was thinner (0.70 ± 0.10 vs. 0.80 ± 0.10 mm, p < 0.0001 for prepubertal children and 0.81 ± 0.10 vs. 0.94 ± 0.11 mm, p < 0.0001 for pubertal children), stiffer (178.5 ± 57.3 vs. 113.09 ± 37 kPa, p < 0.0001 for prepubertal children and 172.5 ± 61.7 vs. 117.3 ± 42.5 kPa for pubertal children, p < 0.001) and less elastic (0.44 ± 0.09 vs. 0.39 ± 0.06 (nonelasticity index), p < 0.01 for prepubertal children and 0.39 ± 0.05 vs. 0.33 ± 0.04, p < 0.001 for pubertal children) compared to controls. Fourteen GHD children were re-evaluated after 1 year of GH treatment: dermal thickness and skin stiffness were significantly improved (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05 respectively) while elasticity was not modified. During the same period, 11 controls did not show any significant cutaneous modification. IGF-1 values, but not IGFBP-3 values, correlated positively with dermal thickness in GHD children, before and after 1 year of GH treatment. To conclude, GHD children exhibited specific cutaneous modifications. In a subset of GHD children, we showed that these modifications were influenced by GH treatment. More extensive studies are needed to see if these changes correlated with other GH effects.
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