Background: Ghrelin is a somatotropic and orexigenic protein secreted primarily from stomach.
Objective and hypotheses: Since both GH secretion and nutrition, two fundamental contributors in growth promotion, are enhanced by ghrelin, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of ghrelin hormone with growth retardation in 3- to 16-year-old children and adolescents and determine whether ghrelin levels are different between normal subjects and those with delayed growth.
Method: After thorough clinical examination, 60 subjects including 30 with normal weight and height and 30 with growth retardation were selected. All the endocrine, gastroenterological, genetic or mental disorders were ruled out. None of the subjects had any history of exposure to adverse conditions and inappropriate feeding practices. The subjects were evaluated for fasting total and acylated (active) ghrelin levels, GH, and IGF-1. Subjects with decline in growth were further divided into three groups based on the presence of low height (LH), low weight (LW) or both (LHLW). Feeding behavior of the children was also assessed.
Results: Total ghrelin levels were higher in LW and LHLW subjects compared to that in other subjects but the difference was not significant. Acylated ghrelin levels were also not significantly different in the two groups but it showed a trend towards lower active ghrelin in children with poor growth. There was not any significant correlation between ghrelin and parameters of growth. Growth retardation was more prominent in children and adolescents with poor appetite and total ghrelin concentration was significantly higher in these subjects.
Conclusion: The results of this study show that although ghrelin is not significantly altered in growth retardation, it is significantly higher in children with poor appetite than that in good eaters and inefficient ghrelin orexigenic function may be the indirect cause of poor growth in these children.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology