Thyroxine (T4) importantly regulates the growth of newborns. Compared to fetuses with equivalent gestational ages, very preterm infants (VPIs) often experience relatively low thyroxinemia, with a normal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration < 10 µIU/mL. However, there is continued debate regarding postnatal thyroxine supplementation for VPIs with normal TSH and transitionally low thyroxinemia. Little research has explored the role of the postnatal total T4 (TT4) serum concentration on the growth of VPIs. In this study, we aim to clarify whether the postnatal thyroxine concentration is associated with the short-and long-term growth outcomes of VPIs. A total of 334 surviving VPIs in our previously reported cohort, born in the period August 2007–July 2016, were enrolled. The exposure variable was the postnatal TT4 concentration at 1 month old. The primary outcomes were body weight increments over 28 days after the screening and anthropometric outcomes at the corrected age of 24 months old. Infants with any hormonal replacement, severe brain injury, congenital anomaly, or cerebral palsy were excluded. In total, 290 (86.8%) VPIs were included for analysis. In the 28 days after thyroid function screening, the TT4 concentration was found to have a significant association with positive increments in body weight (mean increment: 25.7 g per 1 µg/dL; p < 0.001) and a positive body weight z-score (mean increment: 0.039 per 1 µg/dL; p = 0.037), determined by generalized estimating equation analysis. At the corrected age of 24 months old, a higher postnatal TT4 concentration was associated with a lower body mass index (mean coefficient: −0.136; 95% CI: −0.231 to −0.041, p = 0.005) and lower body mass index z-score (mean coefficient: −0.097; 95% CI: −0.170 to −0.024, p = 0.009). Infants with a TT4 concentration > 6.4 ug/dL had significantly lower odds of overweight status (odds ratio: 0.365; 95% CI: 0.177 to 0.754, p = 0.006). We conclude that the postnatal TT4 concentration is associated with a positive increment in body weight in the short term. At the same time, the postnatal TT4 concentration is associated with lower odds of overweight status after long-term follow-up.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics