September 25th, 2023

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Mechanisms of Twinning: VIII. Maternal Height, Insulinlike Growth Factor and Twinning Rate
Authors:  Gary Steinman, M.D., Ph.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship of maternal height to the rate of twinning and the possible connection of these parameters to the coexistent level of insulinlike growth factor (IGF).

STUDY DESIGN: Since spontaneous multiple gestations in humans are relatively uncommon in general, it is reasonable to consider distinguishing physical attributes, such as height, that may have some functional relationship to this phenomenon. In a prior study, hereditary and dietary factors affecting the level of IGF were found to correlate with the rate of twinning. In that height is known to parallel the serum level of IGF, a survey of women who had previously conceived spontaneously and had given birth to twins or triplets was undertaken. Their heights were compared with the mean value for the general female population.

RESULTS: Mothers of 129 sets of spontaneous multiples displayed a mean height of 164.8 cm as compared to 161.8 cm for the general population of women (p<0.005).

CONCLUSION: These data confirm those from previous studies and corroborate the proposed relationship between maternal height and the rate of twinning. Thus, the results reported here further support the IGF model of twinning. (J Reprod Med 2006;51:694-698)
Keywords:  twinning, insulin-like growth factors, body height, growth hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone
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