Ghrelin does not regulate the GH response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in children but could be involved in the regulation of cortisol secretion.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2007; 66(1):143-7CE
Ghrelin activates the growth hormone secretagogue receptor GHS-R. It strongly stimulates GH secretion and has a role in energy homeostasis. The relationship between plasma ghrelin and cortisol levels during insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in prepubertal and pubertal children has not yet been investigated. The aim of the present study was to establish whether insulin-induced hypoglycaemia stimulates ghrelin secretion and whether changes in ghrelin concentrations are related to changes in GH and cortisol in children.
DESIGN AND PATIENTS
We studied a group of 20 children and adolescents (five girls, 15 boys, mean age 10.8 +/- 3.7 years) undergoing insulin tolerance tests (ITTs) for clinical investigation of GH deficiency.
Stimulation tests were performed to investigate the relationship between ghrelin, GH, cortisol and glucose levels according to age and pubertal stage by determining the ghrelin profiles during insulin-induced hypoglycaemia (at 0, 60 and 120 min).
Ghrelin was significantly and inversely related to body weight, height, body mass index (BMI) and age of children (P < 0.05). Significant changes in ghrelin levels (P = 0.00013) were found after the insulin bolus, with a decline at 60 min and an increase to baseline values at 120 min. Changes in cortisol levels were negatively correlated with changes in ghrelin at 60 min (r = -0.59, P = 0.004) and at 120 min (r = -0.605, P = 0.003).
This study shows that ghrelin might not regulate the GH response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia in prepubertal and pubertal children. A role for ghrelin in the regulation of cortisol secretion can be hypothesized concerning the negative correlation between changes in ghrelin and cortisol. Furthermore, the results imply that ghrelin secretion is age dependent and is a function of growth.