Disorders in thyroid function can impair normal development in children. Therefore it was our aim to establish reference intervals for serum triiodothyronine (T3), free T3 (fT3), thyroxine (T4), free T4 (fT4), thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) and thyrotropin (TSH) which are applicable from birth to adulthood by using the non-isotopic automated chemiluminescence immunoassay system, Immulite® (DPC Los Angeles, USA). Serum samples from 762 euthyroid newborns, children and adolescents (369 female, 393 male; age 1 day to 19 years) were examined; of these, 381 were classified as pubertal. Due to non-normal distribution, the 2.5th, 50th and 97.5th percentiles (the central 95% interval) were calculated for each group. The median concentrations of T4, fT4 and TSH were up to 3.2-fold higher during the first 2 weeks, while T4 increased during the first month of life. The concentrations in all age groups showed no sex differences. From 1 year onwards, the concentration of all parameters tended to decrease until adult age, with the exception of TBG which increased by >60% (p<0.02) and reached a maximum at approximately 5 years of age. The findings underscore the fact that thyroid hormones are not associated with sexual development, except for TBG, which decreased slightly (p<0.04) between Tanner stages 1 and 5. However, the reference intervals established here demonstrate that marked changes occur in concentrations of thyroid hormones after the neonatal period. Our findings complement these of earlier studies. The developed reference intervals can be used to assess the thyroid status of patients, particularly if the measurements are done on the Immulite/Immulite 2000 system.
Copyright © 2001 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG