Background: Peptide hormones synthesized in gastrointestinal tract (GI) and adipose tissues, in addition to neuropeptides, regulate growth and body weight in children. The GI microflora (i.e. Candida albicans CA and Helicobacter pylori HP) is an antigenic source. Based on the molecular mimicry hypothesis, intestinal microbe-derived antigens may trigger the production of autoantibodies cross-reacting with regulatory peptides.
Objective and hypotheses: The aim of the study was to assess whether in short children with CA colonisation and HP infection the autoantibodies anti selected neuropeptides (Ab anti-NP) are more prevalent than in the control group.
Method: The study group comprised 77 short (height below −2.0 SD), children (28 girls and 49 boys), mean age: 10.2±3.6 S.D. years). The control group comprised 14 children with normal height (nine girls and five boys), mean age: 11.9±3.8 S.D. years). In every child, serology to detect HP (anti-HP IgG and IgA) was performed and stool samples were cultured for CA. Moreover, the prevalence of anti-ghrelin, anti-leptin, anti-alfaMSH and anti-orexinA Ab was assessed.
Results: In 42 out of 77 short children CA and/or HP infections were confirmed. In 15 of them (35.7%) anti-NP Abs were found. In seven out of 14 children from the control group CA and/or HP infections were confirmed and in two of them (28.6%) anti-NP Abs were found. Among short children without CA and/or HP infections, anti-NP Abs were detected in three cases only (out of 35) 8.5%, while in the control group they were not found.
Conclusion: In short children with CA colonisation and/or HP infection the incidence of antibodies against neuropeptides is elevated, which may be connected with the molecular mimicry phenomenon. It may be a reason of worse high velocity in these children due to disorders in neuropeptides activity. However, further studies are necessary to elucidate this issue.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology