Ghrelin and its endogenous antagonist liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide-2 (LEAP-2) are involved in GH secretion and glucose/lipids metabolism. LEAP-2 expression in conditions of metabolic impairment may be upregulated, usually pairing with a concomitant reduction in ghrelin secretion. Adult growth hormone deficiency (aGHD) is characterized by insulin resistance, weight gain, and increased fat mass. Therefore, the primary endpoint of this cross-sectional observational pilot study was to compare circulating LEAP-2 and ghrelin levels in aGHD and healthy controls. Thirty patients were included in the study. Group A included adult GHD: 15 patients, 8 females, and 7 males. Median and interquartile range age of the group was 53 (41-57) years, while BMI was 27.1 (25-35) kg/m(2). Group B was formed by 15 healthy controls (10 females and 5 males). Median and interquartile range age was 47 (36-57) years, while BMI 22.9 (20.8-33.1) kg/m(2). They were evaluated for serum glucose and insulin, HOMA-index, QUICKI-index, total/LDL/HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, IGF-1, ghrelin, and LEAP-2. Ghrelin levels in the aGHD group were significantly lower than in healthy controls. In contrast, LEAP-2 showed a trend toward higher levels, although the differences were not significant. However, the LEAP-2/Ghrelin ratio was significantly higher in aGHD. No significant correlations between ghrelin and LEAP-2 with BMI and HOMA index were found in aGHD population. However, a significant inverse correlation (r(2) = 0.15, p = .047) between BMI and ghrelin was evidenced when considering the whole population. Taken together, these results may suggest a body adaptation to a metabolic scenario typical of aGHD. The decrease in ghrelin production could prevent further weight gain and fat mass increase, although losing its secretagogue effect.
- insulin resistance