Aim: To investigate the role of ghrelin and obestatin in obesity mechanisms.
Methods: A total of 88 obese children and 25 normal children were enrolled. Moreover, 46 obese children took part in a summer camp for weight reduction. Fasting ghrelin, obestatin and other biochemical parameters were measured in all subjects and re-measured in 45 obese children finishing the camp.
Results: The ghrelin levels in the control and obese groups were 67.26 ± 23.41 pmol/L and 56.53 ± 15.97 pmol/L with a significant difference (p = 0.039), while the obestatin levels (89.41 ± 23.63 vs. 83.13 ± 17.21 pmol/L) were not significantly different (p = 0.083). The ghrelin/obestatin ratio in the controls was significantly higher than that in the obese group (p = 0.014). In the latter, fasting insulin and alanine aminotransferase were independent factors for ghrelin; fasting insulin, weight and gender were independent factors for obestatin and alanine aminotransferase was an independent factor for ghrelin/obestatin. Moreover, ghrelin, obestatin and ghrelin/obestatin increased after weight reduction (p < 0.05, respectively), and the increment in ghrelin and obestatin was associated with a decrement in insulin resistance.
Conclusion: These data suggest that ghrelin, obestatin and/or the ghrelin/obestatin ratio are associated with obesity in childhood.