Open Access Open Badges Research article

Genetic variability in IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 and body size in early life

Elizabeth M Poole12*, Shelley S Tworoger12, Susan E Hankinson125 and Heather J Baer234

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA

3 Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA

4 Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

5 Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 02115, USA

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:659  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-659

Published: 15 August 2012



Early life body size and circulating levels of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 have been linked to increased risks of breast and other cancers, but it is unclear whether these exposures act through a common mechanism. Previous studies have examined the role of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 genetic variation in relation to adult height and body size, but few studies have examined associations with birthweight and childhood size.


We examined whether htSNPs in IGF-1 and the IGFBP-1/IGFBP-3 gene region are associated with the self-reported outcomes of birthweight, body fatness at ages 5 and 10, and body mass index (BMI) at age 18 among healthy women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHSII. We used ordinal logistic regression to model odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of a one category increase for birthweight and somatotypes at ages 5 and 10. We used linear regression to model associations with BMI at age 18.


Among 4567 healthy women in NHS and NHSII, we observed no association between common IGF-1 or IGFBP-1/IGFBP-3 SNPs and birthweight, body fatness at ages 5 and 10, or BMI at age 18.


Common IGF-1 and IGFBP-1/IGFBP-3 SNPs are not associated with body size in early life.

IGF-1; IGFBP-1; IGFBP-3; Birthweight; Body size; Adolescence