Ghrelin and obestatin are 2 gastric hormones with opposite effects on food intake and body weight. We investigated plasma ghrelin and obestatin in children with failure to thrive (FTT) and obesity as compared with age-matched controls.
A total of 63 children were included in the study: 13 with FTT, 17 with obesity, and 33 age-matched controls. Children fasted for at least 8 hours before specimen collection. Both hormones were measured using commercially available enzyme immunoassay kits.
Ghrelin and obestatin levels in children with FTT were not significantly different from that of the age-matched controls (P >0.05). In children with obesity, the total ghrelin levels were significantly lower (P = 0.0003) and the obestatin levels significantly higher (P = 0.029) compared with those in controls. In the control group, the fasting ghrelin level was significantly higher in the younger (<3 years) than in the older children (>3 years; P = 0.0004). Obestatin levels correlated positively with weight-for-age percentiles in the obese group (P = 0.011) and negatively in the control group >3 years (P = 0.019).
Compared with the levels in age-matched controls, fasting ghrelin and obestatin levels did not differ significantly in children with FTT. In the children with obesity, the decreased ghrelin and increased obestatin levels suggest a possible adaptive process to positive energy balance. Ghrelin had pronounced age-related changes, and obestatin was associated with the weight status. This may suggest that these 2 hormones use different mechanisms to regulate energy balance and weight.
*Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition
†Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Zhaoping He, PhD, Nemours Biomedical Research, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, PO Box 269, Wilmington, DE 19803 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received 1 January, 2013
Accepted 17 October, 2013
The authors report no conflicts of interest.