Childhood celiac disease may lead to a failure of statural growth. After institution of a gluten-free diet most patients exhibit catch-up growth. Catch-up growth is a remarkable phenomenon characterized by a supranormal height velocity. One of the hypothetical mechanisms of catch-up growth is that an increased activity of the somatotrophic axis is involved. In order to provide further insight in the physiology of catch-up growth, auxological and endocrine changes were prospectively studied in 28 children with newly diagnosed celiac disease. The results demonstrate a malnutrition-like state of the somatotrophic axis at the time of diagnosis and a rapid recovery of this axis towards normal functioning after institution of the gluten-free diet. Although several correlations between these endocrine alterations and auxological parameters were detected, it is questionable whether the endocrine changes are the driving force behind catch-up growth.

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