Ghrelin Levels Relate to Digestive Damage in Celiac

Byron's Comments:

An important link showing how the known growth hormone stimulating properties of ghrelin are elevated during digestive distress as a likely repair mechanism.

Study Title:

Tissue ghrelin level and gastric emptying rate in adult patients with celiac disease.

Study Abstract:

Celiac disease (CD) patients show a number of gastrointestinal motor abnormalities. Ghrelin, a gastric peptide implicated in short-term feeding control and long-term body weight regulation, has been recently considered a key regulator of gastric motility. The aim of this study was to evaluate the gastric emptying rate of solids and the density of ghrelin-immunopositive cells in adult CD patients before and at least 1 year after starting a gluten-free diet. Twenty CD patients (M 8/F 12; mean age 36 years) and 10 controls underwent endoscopy with gastric and duodenal biopsies and (13)C-octanoic acid breath test to measure gastric emptying of solids. Celiac disease patients repeated the protocol at least 1 year after starting gluten-free diet. Ghrelin tissue levels were evaluated by immunohistochemistry on gastric mucosa specimens. Gastric emptying time was normal in all control subjects (t(1/2) = 89 +/- 16 min) while it was delayed in CD patients prior to gluten-free diet (t(1/2) = 252 +/- 101 min; P < 0.005). The mean number of ghrelin-positive cells/field (x400) was 14.4 +/- 2.7 in controls and 25.3 +/- 5.7 in CD patients respectively (P < 0.0001). Gluten withdrawal was effective in normalizing gastric emptying time in all CD patients (97 +/- 14 min; P < 0.0001) and resulted in a significant reduction of the density of ghrelin-immunopositive cells (19.8 +/- 5.4; P < 0.0001). The density of ghrelin-positive cells correlated directly with the degree of duodenal damage (P < 0.001) and inversely with the body mass index of CD patients (P < 0.0001). However, in neither CD patients nor controls, a correlation between tissue ghrelin levels and gastric emptying rate was detected. In conclusion, tissue ghrelin level does not correlate with gastric emptying rate in adult CD patients and in controls.

Study Information:

Rocco A, Sarnelli G, Compare D, de Colibus P, Micheli P, Somma P, Marotti B, Cuomo R, Nardone G. Tissue ghrelin level and gastric emptying rate in adult patients with celiac disease. Neurogastroenterol Motil.  2008 April Epub ahead of print.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gastroenterology Unit, “Federico II” University of Naples, Naples, Italy.

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