Relationship Between Obesity, Ghrelin and Growth Hormones

Metabolic syndrome is an increasingly common disorder in developed countries, as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise result in a large number of obese people. Obesity leads to a wide range of disorders such as Dyslipidemia, Diabetes, and Hypertension. A constellation of the three conditions can have fatal consequences as all three are major risk factors for Stroke and Heart Attack. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a condition encompassing central obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and increased blood pressure.

Obese Man

Obese Man

According to the National Cholesterol Education Program-Third Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III), a person with metabolic syndrome includes those with any of the 3 risk factors. However, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has suggested the compulsory inclusion of Central Obesity in combination with any two risk factors among hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and low HDL.

Central obesity has been distinctly associated with modification in signaling pathways. Ghrelin signaling and growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis is responsible to maintain balance by ensuring stable metabolic homeostasis.

Ghrelin is a peripheral hormone responsible for regulating orexigenic response and balancing metabolic energy. For a long time, it has been a topic of intense study in metabolic disorders.

Researchers have conducted a study to assess the effect of Central Obesity and other components of metabolic syndrome on ghrelin products and circulating hormones.

Purpose of study: To examine the effect of isolated Central Obesity or in combination with the other four MetS risk factors on ghrelin signaling and the GH/IGH-1axis.
Participants: Male and female adults between ages 24 to 86 years, retrieved from 1492 archived data of participants screened from November 2010 to August 2013. 

Criteria for inclusion:

All participants had to fall under one of the following categories:

  1. No Metabolic Syndrome risk factor
  2. Central obesity without any other Metabolic Syndrome
  3. Demonstrating four Metabolic Syndrome risk factors
  4. All MetS risk factors


Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to measure Peptides including UnAG, AG, obestatin, nesfatin-1, GH, and IGF-1 from the venous blood samples of all participants.


An increase in Obestatin with a reduction in GH was observed in groups with either Central Obesity or combined 4 risk factors In participants with a combination of all risk factors of Metabolic syndrome were found to have further augmented findings. Alteration in levels of ghrelin was found to be mediated Metabolic Syndrome risk factors other than Central Obesity. This suggests that Central Obesity is not directly responsible for alteration in the regulation of signaling pathways in people with Metabolic Syndrome. While Central Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome have common signaling targets including obestatin and Growth Hormone, Central Obesity does not affect ghrelin signaling.


Obestatin and growth hormone reveal the interaction of central obesity and other cardiometabolic risk factors of metabolic syndrome



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