Salivary Testosterone during the Minipuberty of InfancyContreras M.a · Raisingani M.a · Chandler D.W.b · Curtin W.D.b · Barillas J.c · Brar P.C.a · Prasad K.a · Shah B.a · David R.a
aDepartment of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
bEndocrine Sciences Laboratory, LabCorp, Calabasas, CA, USA
cDepartment of Pediatrics, Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Article / Publication Details
Background: The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is transiently activated during the postnatal months in boys, a phenomenon termed “minipuberty” of infancy, when serum testosterone (T) increases to pubertal levels. Despite high circulating T there are no signs of virilization. We hypothesize that free T as measured in saliva is low, which would explain the absence of virilization. Methods: We measured serum total T and free T in saliva using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in 30 infant boys, aged 1–6 months, and in 12 adolescents, aged 11–17 years. Results: Total serum T in all infants was, as expected, high (172 ± 78 ng/dL) while salivary T was low (7.7 ± 4 pg/mL or 0.45 ± 0.20%). In contrast, salivary T in the adolescents was much higher (41 ± 18 pg/mL or 1.3 ± 0.36%) in relation to their total serum T (323 ± 117 ng/dL). We provide for the first time reference data for salivary T in infants. Conclusion: Measurement of salivary T by LC-MS/MS is a promising noninvasive technique to reflect free T in infants. The low free T explains the absence of virilization. The minipuberty of infancy is more likely of intragonadal than peripheral significance.
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