Ghrelin, leptin and insulin in cirrhotic children and adolescents: relationship with cirrhosis severity and nutritional status.

Regulatory peptides

PubMedID: 23142314

Dornelles CT, Goldani HA, Wilasco MI, Maurer RL, Kieling CO, Porowski M, Ferreira CT, Santos JL, Vieira SM, Silveira TR. Ghrelin, leptin and insulin in cirrhotic children and adolescents: relationship with cirrhosis severity and nutritional status. Regul Pept. 2013;18026-32.
OBJECTIVE
Ghrelin, leptin, and insulin concentrations are involved in the control of food intake and they seem to be associated with anorexia-cachexia in cirrhotic patients. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the nutritional status and fasting ghrelin, leptin and insulin concentrations in pediatric cirrhotic patients.

METHODS
Thirty-nine patients with cirrhosis and 39 healthy controls aged 0-15 years matched by sex and age were enrolled. Severity of liver disease was assessed by Child-Pugh classification, and Pediatric for End Stage Liver Disease (PELD) or Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores. Blood samples were collected from patients and controls to assay total ghrelin, acyl ghrelin, leptin and insulin by using a commercial ELISA kit. Anthropometry parameters used were standard deviation score of height-for-age and triceps skinfold thickness-for-age ratio. A multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the correlation between dependent and independent variables.

RESULTS
Acyl ghrelin was significantly lower in cirrhotic patients than in controls [142 (93-278) pg/mL vs 275 (208-481) pg/mL, P=0.001]. After multiple linear regression analysis, total ghrelin and acyl ghrelin showed an inverse correlation with age; acyl ghrelin was associated with the severity of cirrhosis and des-acyl ghrelin with PELD or MELD scores =15. Leptin was positively correlated with gender and anthropometric parameters. Insulin was not associated with any variable.

CONCLUSION
Low acyl ghrelin and high des-acyl ghrelin concentrations were associated with cirrhosis severity, whereas low leptin concentration was associated with undernourishment in children and adolescents with cirrhosis.