Early corticosteroid withdrawal is associated with improved adult height in pediatric kidney transplant recipients

Gilles Tourlamain, Mandy Keijzer-Veen, Antonia Bouts, Karlien Cransberg, Huib de Jong, Rani De Pauw, Karen Vanderstraeten, Amina El Amouri, Ann Raes, Noël Knops, Agnieszka Prytuła*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Catch-up growth after pediatric kidney transplantation (kTx) is usually insufficient to reach normal adult height. We aimed to analyze the effect of pre-transplant recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) and corticosteroid withdrawal on linear growth in the first year after kidney transplantation and identify factors associated with final height (FH).

Methods: Patients who underwent kTx between 1996 and 2018 at below 18 years old in five Belgian and Dutch centers were included. We analyzed the differences between height Z-scores at kTx and 1 year post-transplant (Δ height Z-score) in children with and without corticosteroids at 1 year  and with and without rhGH treatment before kTx. Univariable and multivariable linear regression analysis was applied to identify factors associated with height Z-score at 1 year post-kTx, Δ height Z-score, and FH Z-score.

Results: A total of 177 patients were included, with median age 9.3 years at kTx. Median height Z-scores pre-kTx and 1 year later in the CS − /rhGH − , CS + /rhGH − , CS − /rhGH + , and CS + /rhGH + groups were − 1.42/ − 0.80, − 0.90/ − 0.62, − 1.35/ − 1.20, and − 1.30/ − 1.60. CS use 1 year post-kTx was the only factor associated with Δ height (p = 0.003) on multivariable analysis. CS use at 1 year was the only variable associated with FH in children with pre-transplant height Z-score below − 1.

Conclusions: Increase in height Z-score in the first year post-kTx was highest in the CS − /rhGH − group and lowest in the CS + /rhGH + group. The use of corticosteroids at 1 year post-kTx is associated with catch-up growth and in children with pre-transplant height Z-score below − 1 also with final height. Graphical abstract: A higher resolution version of the Graphical abstract is available as Supplementary information [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number1
Early online date28 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was supported by a research grant from Novo Nordisk.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to International Pediatric Nephrology Association.


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