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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPACT OF EARLY DIETARY FACTORS ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Title: Ultrasonographic patterns of reproductive organs in infants fed soy formula: Comparisons to infants fed breast milk and milk formula

Authors
item Gilchrist, Janet -
item Moore, Mary -
item Andres, Aline -
item Estroff, Judy -
item Badger, Thomas -

Submitted to: Journal of Pediatrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 2009
Publication Date: February 5, 2010
Citation: Gilchrist, J.M., Moore, M.B., Andres, A., Estroff, J.A., Badger, T.M. 2010. Ultrasonographic patterns of reproductive organs in infants fed soy formula: Comparisons to infants fed breast milk and milk formula. Journal of Pediatrics. 156(2):215-220.

Interpretive Summary: The objective of this study was to determine if differences exist in reproductive organ size between infants fed soy formula, milk formula, or breast milk. We measured breast buds, uterus, ovaries, prostate, and testicular volumes using ultrasounds in 40 breast-fed infants, 41 milk-formula-fed infants, and 39 soy-formula-fed infants at age 4 months. We didn't find any differences in growth or body composition of the infants. The only difference we found was that milk-fed girls had greater ovarian volume and ovarian cysts per ovary than breast fed girls. Also, milk- and soy-formula-fed boys had lower testicular volumes than breast-fed boys. In conclusion, our data do not support major diet-related differences in reproductive organ size as measured by ultrasound in infants at age 4 months, although there is some evidence of advanced ovarian development in milk-formula-fed girls and slower testicular development in milk- and soy-formula-fed boys as compared to breast-fed infants.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to determine if differences exist in hormone sensitive organ size between infants fed soy formula (SF), milk formula (MF), or breast milk (BF). Breast buds, uterus, ovaries, prostate, and testicular volumes were assessed by ultrasonography in 40 BF, 41 MF, and 39 SF infants at age 4 months. There were no significant feeding-group effects in anthropometric or body composition. Among girls, there were no feeding-group differences in breast bud or uterine volume. MF infants had greater (p<0.05) mean ovarian volume and greater (p<0.01) numbers of ovarian cysts per ovary than did BF infants. Among boys, there were no feeding group differences in prostate or breast bud volumes. Mean testicular volume did not differ between SF and MF boys, but both formula-fed groups had lower testicular volumes than BF infants. Our data do not support major diet-related differences in reproductive organ size as measured by ultrasound in infants at age 4 months, although there is some evidence of ovarian development may be advanced in MF-fed infants and testicular development may be slower in both MF and SF infants as compared to BF. There was no evidence that exclusively feeding SF exerts any estrogenic effects on reproductive organs studied at 4 months.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014