Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the gastrointestinal tract which functions in the hypothalamus as an appetite-regulating neuropeptide. It has been linked to inducing appetite and various feeding behaviours. Because of this, ghrelin is involved in the metabolic pathway of the ‘thrifty phenotype’, a condition in which the infant with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) develops obesity and metabolic syndrome later in life. Ghrelin is composed of two molecular forms, the acylated and the non-acylated ghrelin (NA-Ghr), which modulate each other’s activity.
We aimed to ascertain the values in the umbilical cord blood of NA-Ghr in infants with IUGR and their correlation with anthropometrical parameters at birth.
Material and methods We performed a prospective comparative study on two groups of newborns, 19 with IUGR and 20 without IUGR, born between March and July 2016 in the Cuza-Voda Clinical Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. We collected cord blood samples and we analysed them through ELISA in order to determine NA-Ghr. Data was then interpreted in order to establish correlations between the values we obtained and anthropometrical parameters at birth. The statistical significance was established at p=0.05.
Results The two lots were comparable regarding gestational age, but there were significant statistical differences regarding birth weight, length, ponderal index, head and chest circumferences. NA-Ghr had values of 103 pg/ml (0–474 pg/ml) in the study group and 118.6 pg/ml (8.74–293) in the control group, with significant statistical differences (p=0.0003). NA-Ghr is directly correlated with birth weight (p=0.001), length (p=0.01), head circumference (p=0.0001) and chest circumference (p=0.0001), but it is not correlated with gestational age (p=0.087).
Conclusion NA-Ghr has lower mean values in newborns with IUGR, although it has a greater variability. Its’ role in the neonatal period is poorly understood. More studies are needed to compare these values with total ghrelin, acylated ghrelin and to monitor the dynamics of these hormones during infancy.
- intrauterine growth restriction
- non-acylated ghrelin
- anthropometric parameters
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