Circulating ghrelin levels in basal conditions and during glucose tolerance test in acromegalic patients

Vincenzo Cappiello, Cristina Ronchi, Paola S. Morpurgo, Paolo Epaminonda, Maura Arosio, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Anna Spada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ghrelin exerts a wide range of metabolic functions. In contrast to the body of information accumulated on the role of ghrelin on energy balance, the possible relevance of the peptide on GH secretion in physiological and pathological conditions has so far been poorly investigated. Aim: The aim of the present study was to evaluate circulating ghrelin levels in acromegalic patients in basal conditions and in response to oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Patients: Serum ghrelin, insulin and leptin levels were measured in 31 healthy normal weight subjects as controls, 25 patients with simple obesity and 17 non-diabetic acromegalic patients. Ghrelin and insulin response to OGTT was evaluated in six controls, four obese and six acromegalic patients. Results: The acromegalic patients showed ghrelin levels lower than those observed in normal weight subjects (201±20 vs 329±32 pmol/l, P <0.05) and similar to those found in obese subjects (165±14 pmol/l, P = not significant). Both obese and acromegalic patients had insulin levels significantly higher than controls, while high levels of leptin were detected only in obese subjects. Serum ghrelin levels showed a significant negative correlation with insulin, leptin and body mass index (P <0.05) in normal and obese subjects. No correlation was observed in acromegalic patients, although those with severe insulin resistance showed the lowest ghrelin values (161±20 pmol/l). In controls and obese subjects, ghrelin levels showed a significant decrease (25-40%) during OGTT, while no effect was detectable in acromegalic patients. Conclusions: This study reports that patients with active acromegaly show low levels of circulating ghrelin that are not further reduced by OGTT, this pattern of secretion probably depending on both GH-induced insulin resistance and the putative GH/IGF-I negative feedback control on ghrelin secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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