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Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism

Editor-in-Chief: Kiess, Wieland

Editorial Board Member: Darendeliler, Feyza / Gustafsson, Jan / Luo, Feihong / Mericq, Veronica / Lanes M. D., Roberto / Battelino, Tadej / Buyukgebiz, Atilla / Cassorla, Fernando / Chrousos, George P. / Cutfield, Wayne / Fideleff, Hugo L. / Hershkovitz, Eli / LaFranchi, Stephen H. / Mohn, Angelika / Root, Allen W. / Rosenfeld, Ron G. / Wabitsch, Martin / Werther, George / Zadik, Zvi

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Implications of gastrointestinal hormones in the pathogenesis of obesity in prepubertal children

1 / Cosimo Giannini1 / Ebe D’Adamo1 / Tommaso de Giorgis1 / Francesco Chiarelli1 / Angelika Mohn1

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Via Dei Vestini 5, 66100 Chieti, Italy

Corresponding author: Cinzia Bascietto, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Via Dei Vestini 5, 66100 Chieti, Italy Phone: +39 0871358827, Fax: +39 0871574831

Citation Information: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. Volume 25, Issue 3-4, Pages 255–260, ISSN (Online) 2191-0251, ISSN (Print) 0334-018X, DOI: 10.1515/jpem-2011-0478, March 2012

Publication History

Published Online:


Background: There is a worsening high prevalence of global obesity. Special attention has been paid to the gut-endocrine system, represented by the regulators of appetite. In particular, it has been suggested that ghrelin (“hunger” peptide), and obestatin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) (“satiety” peptides) could play important roles in the pathogenesis of obesity.

Objectives: The aims of this study were to compare fasting plasma ghrelin, obestatin, and GLP-1 levels between obese and nonobese prepubertal children, and to assess their relations with fatness indexes and insulin resistance (IR).

Subjects and methods: Fifty-two prepubertal obese children and 22 controls were enrolled. Fasting levels of gastrointestinal hormones (ghrelin, obestatin, and GLP-1), glucose, and insulin were evaluated. IR was assessed using the homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR) index. Analysis was performed by Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Spearman’s correlation.

Results: Obese prepubertal children and normal-weight controls had similar age distribution. Obese children were more insulin resistant when compared to controls (HOMA-IR: p<0.01). GLP-1 levels were significantly lower in obese children than in controls (p<0.01). Obestatin was significantly higher in obese than normal-weight children (p<0.01), while ghrelin was not different. There was a negative correlation between GLP-1 and standard deviation score-body mass index (r=–0.36, p=0.009) and between GLP-1 and waist circumference (r=–0.45, p=0.001), while no association was observed with HOMA-IR.

Conclusions: GLP-1 levels have been shown to be correlated with adiposity indexes, but not with HOMA-IR, suggesting that this hormone could play an important role in the early development of obesity.

Keywords: children; ghrelin; glucagon-like peptide 1; obesity; obestatin

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