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Circulating ghrelin levels in the newborn are positively associated with gestational age

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Summary objective 

Ghrelin exerts potent GH-releasing activity and stimulates food intake. Circulating ghrelin levels are increased in anorexia and cachexia, reduced in obesity and restored by weight recovery. Newborns are characterized by GH hypersecretion associated with low IGF-I levels reflecting peripheral GH resistance. study design 

The aim of our study was to measure cord ghrelin levels in 117 newborns appropriate for gestational age, born either at term or preterm. results 

Ghrelin levels in cord blood (median; 25th−75th centile: 327·6; 206·0–413·0 pg/ml) were higher (P < 0·0001) than those in maternal blood at delivery (133·0; 89·0–173·7 pg/ml), without gender differences. A positive correlation between ghrelin levels in mothers and newborns (r = 0·26, P < 0·01) was observed. Ghrelin levels in newborns born at term (399·0; 229·0–438·0 pg/ml) were remarkably higher (P < 0·0001) than those in born preterm (208·0; 144·5–278·9 pg/ml). A clear positive association was present between ghrelin levels and gestational age. No association between ghrelin and GH, IGF-I, insulin, glucose and leptin levels were found. conclusions 

Cord ghrelin levels show clear gestational age-related dependency. The lack of any direct relationship between ghrelin and anthropometric or biochemical parameters in adequate for gestational age newborns does not support the hypothesis that ghrelin has major role in foetal GH secretion and growth.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Pediatrics, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, 2: Department of Paediatrics, Regional Hospital, Bolzano, 3: Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Regina Margherita Children Hospital and 4: Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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