Elevated fasting plasma ghrelin in prader-willi syndrome adults is not solely explained by their reduced visceral adiposity and insulin resistance

Anthony P Goldstone, E Louise Thomas, Audrey E Brynes, Gabriela Castroman, Ray Edwards, Mohammad A Ghatei, Gary Frost, Anthony J Holland, Ashley B Grossman, Márta Korbonits, Stephen R Bloom, Jimmy D Bell
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2004, 89 (4): 1718-26
Plasma ghrelin is elevated in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). This might contribute to obesity or GH deficiency in such patients. Visceral adiposity and insulin resistance are reduced in PWS, which might lead to hyperghrelinemia. We measured fasting plasma ghrelin in control female (n = 39), PWS female (n = 12), and PWS male (n = 6) adults. In controls and PWS, ghrelin was negatively correlated with visceral adiposity, fasting insulin, and homeostasis model insulin resistance index. There was no significant correlation with serum IGF-I in PWS. In stepwise linear regression, visceral adiposity (P < 0.02) had a stronger inverse correlation with ghrelin than sc fat depots in controls and PWS, possibly through hyperinsulinemia, as the correlations with insulin resistance were even stronger (P < 0.01). PWS females had significantly (P < 0.001) elevated ghrelin (mean +/- SD, 661 +/- 360 pg/ml), compared with both nonobese (363 +/- 163) and obese (191 +/- 66) controls. Ghrelin was increased 3.4- to 3.6-fold in PWS females adjusting for total adiposity, 3.2- to 3.4-fold adjusting for visceral adiposity, and 3.0-fold adjusting for insulin resistance. Fasting plasma glucagon-like peptide-1 was normal in PWS females. The hyperghrelinemia in PWS adults is therefore not solely explained by their reduced visceral adiposity and relative hypoinsulinemia. Its cause and consequences await further elucidation.

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