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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 23, 2019

The effect of therapy on plasma ghrelin and leptin levels, and appetite in children with iron deficiency anemia

  • Nuran Kucuk , Zerrin Orbak EMAIL logo , Cahit Karakelloglu and Fatih Akcay



It is known that iron deficiency anemia effects appetite and growth negatively. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of iron therapy on appetite, growth and plasma ghrelin and leptin levels in children aged between 12 and 24 months with isolated nutritional iron deficiency anemia.


Iron deficiency anemia was diagnosed by clinic and laboratory findings. All 19 cases were given 5 mg/kg/day iron therapy for 3 months.


The mean plasma ghrelin level was 936.7±428.8 pg/mL before therapy and it increased to 1284.7±533.3 pg/mL (p<0.001) while the mean plasma leptin level decreased from 3.4±1.6 ng/mL to 1.9±1.0 ng/mL (p<0.01) after therapy. The amount of daily caloric intake, carbohydrate and protein intake were significantly increased after therapy (p<0.001). Δ body weight was correlated with plasma ghrelin levels before and after therapy significantly.


In conclusion, the findings of this study indicate that plasma ghrelin level increases and leptin level decreases and growth accelerates because of an increase in appetite and daily calories, carbohydrate and protein amount in children with nutritional iron deficiency anemia after iron therapy. The increase in appetite and acceleration on growth in iron deficiency anemia might result from decreased leptin and increased plasma ghrelin levels. The most important finding of this study is significantly increased plasma ghrelin levels after iron therapy, and this finding might be related to both the improved appetite and catch-up growth.

Corresponding author: Dr. Zerrin Orbak, MD, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Atatürk University, Erzurum 25240, Turkey, Phone: +009 05333559339

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

  6. Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests regarding this article.


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Received: 2018-08-08
Accepted: 2019-01-01
Published Online: 2019-02-23
Published in Print: 2019-03-26

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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