Fetal growth has been linked with increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease later in life. The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis has recently been proposed as a predictor of risk of subsequent cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, only few data are available on the possible association between fetal growth and levels of IGFs later in life. We examined the association between markers of fetal growth, i.e. birth weight, birth length and Ponderal Index, from birth records and serum IGF-I, IGF-II, and IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) levels in 545 middle-aged Danish men and women. We fitted separate multivariate models including birth weight, birth length, Ponderal Index and serum IGF-I, IGF-II, and IGFBP-3, respectively. After adjustment for age, alcohol intake, smoking, diabetes mellitus, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum total cholesterol and current height and weight, we found negative associations between birth weight and Ponderal Index, respectively, and serum IGF-II in men, i.e. the mean regression coefficients were -49.41 (95% CI: -87.06-11.77) (microg/l)/kg and -3.49 (95% CI: -6.73-0.25) (microg/l)/(kg/m3), respectively. Furthermore, in men birth weight was negatively associated with the (IGF-I + IGF-II)/IGFBP-3 and IGF-II/IGFBP-3 ratios, which are believed to be indicators of bioavailable IGF and IGF-II, respectively. However, no other associations were found in any of the models. Between 1 and 16% of the variance in serum IGF-I, IGF-II, and IGFBP-3, respectively, could be explained by the statistical models used in the analyses. We found very little support to the hypothesis of an association between fetal growth and the IGF axis throughout life.
|Tidsskrift||European Journal of Epidemiology|
|Status||Udgivet - 2004|