Hormonal correlates and predictors of nutritional recovery in Malnourished African Children

Helen M. Nabwera, Robin M. Bernstein, Schadrac C. Agbla, Sophie E. Moore, Momodou K. Darboe, Mariama Colley, Amadou T. Jallow, Richard Bradbury, Jennifer Karafin, Anthony J. Fulford, Andrew M. Prentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background Malnourished children show variable growth responses to nutritional rehabilitation. We aimed to investigate whether these differences could be explained by variations in growth and energy-regulating hormones. Methods Quasi-experimental study: Children aged 6-24 months in rural Gambia were recruited to controls if weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) > -2 (n = 22), moderate acute malnutrition if WHZ < -2 and > -3 (n = 18) or severe acute malnutrition if WHZ < -3 (n = 20). Plasma hormone and salivary CRP levels were determined by ELISA. Results In univariable analyses, increases in weight-for-age z-score (WAZ) in malnourished children were positively correlated with insulin (F-ratio 7.8, p = 0.006), C-peptide (F-ratio 12.2, p < 0.001) and cortisol (F-ratio 5.0, p = 0.03). In multivariable analysis, only baseline C-peptide (F-ratio 7.6, p = 0.009) predicted the changes in WAZ over 28 days of interventions. Conclusion In rural Gambian, malnourished children, although it cannot be used in isolation, baseline C-peptide was a predictor of future response to rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Gambian children
  • hormones
  • malnutrition
  • nutritional rehabilitation


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