Fasting and postprandial plasma ghrelin levels are decreased in patients with liver failure previous to liver transplantation
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- Diz-Lois, M.T., Garcia-Buela, J., Suarez, F. et al. Endocr (2009) 35: 467. doi:10.1007/s12020-009-9170-6
Anorexia is a problem of paramount importance in patients with advanced liver failure. Ghrelin has important actions on feeding and weight homeostasis. Concentrations of ghrelin are controversial in liver cirrhosis. Our aim was to study fasting ghrelin and their response to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in liver failure patients and normal subjects. Methods We included 16 patients with severe liver failure prior to liver transplantation. As a control group we included 10 age- and BMI-matched healthy subjects. After an overnight fast, 75 g of oral glucose were administered; glucose, insulin, and ghrelin were obtained at baseline and at times 30, 60, 90, and 120 min, respectively. Results Fasting ghrelin (median and range) were statistically significantly lower for patients compared to the controls, 527 (377–971) pg/ml vs. 643 (523–2163) pg/ml, P = 0.045, for patients and controls, respectively. The area under the curve for total ghrelin post-OGTT were lower in end-stage liver failure patients than in the control group, 58815 (44730–87420) pg/ml min vs. 76560 (56160–206385) pg/ml min, for patients and controls, respectively, P = 0.027. Conclusions Ghrelin levels are significantly decreased both fasting and post-OGTT in patients with liver failure candidates for transplantation. Decreased ghrelin levels could contribute to anorexia in patients with cirrhosis.