gary coleman-nephritis causing shortness

This is from a bar trivia question that came up a couple weeks ago. There is bar game called NTN or Buzztime that has little gameboards to play, and I play all the time. But the basic question was"what caused Gary Coleman’s short stature" and the mutiple choice answers included; kidney disease, and drug interaction.

And I got it wrong. Not like it’s a detailed area of study, but I had always heard that it was the non-rejection drugs he was given after an early kidney transplant that caused his body to stop growing(screwed up the thyroid).

Can nephritis, by itself, cause a person to be short?

I don’t know, but I have a cousin who had nephritis when he was ten and grew to 6’3" with size 15 shoes. They said that he had lost 90% of his kidney function but he is 55 now and appears to be in fine health.

I’ve had chronic nephritis since I was 10, and I’m now 35, height 5’ 7". Hardly Wilt Chamberlain, but certainly no Gary Coleman.

There is no doubt that chronic kidney disease arising in childhood can lead to short stature. In fact, any severe chronic illness can do the same.

When we grow, it is by virtue of the effect of proteins such as Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I (IGR-I). For reasons that I doubt are fully understood, IGF-I levels fall with major illness (and other proteins, which bind and render IGF-I inactive, rise at the same time).

The problem is made worse by the use of drugs such as steroids (prednisone et al). They can be prescribed to treat the kidney kidney disease itself, to prevent rejection of a transplanted kidney, or to treat a disease (such as lupus) which caused the kidney disease in the first place.

BTW, here’s a very old abstract to give you a sense of how common and profound growth retardation is in kidney failure in kids.

A VERY informative paper (abstract) from 2006 on short stature in kids with kidney disease. Well worth at least glancing at.