Objectives: Obestatin and ghrelin, which are derived from the same gene, are observed to have opposite effects on weight status. The aims of this study were to compare obestatin concentrations in obese and normal-weight children and to analyse the effect of weight loss on obestatin and ghrelin levels.
Methods: We examined anthropometrical markers and fasting serum obestatin, ghrelin, leptin, glucose and insulin concentrations in 44 obese children (mean age 11.2 years) before and after participating in a 1-year outpatient obesity intervention programme based on a high-carbohydrate, fat-reduced diet and increased physical activity. Additionally, total ghrelin, obestatin and leptin levels were determined in 22 normal-weight healthy children of similar age, gender and pubertal stage.
Results: Obestatin and leptin concentrations were significantly (P < 0.001) higher and ghrelin concentrations were significantly (P < 0.001) lower in obese children compared to nonobese children. In contrast to the 13 children without weight loss, substantial weight loss in 31 children led to a significant (P = 0.007) increase in obestatin and to a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in leptin and insulin concentrations, while ghrelin concentrations did not change significantly. Children with substantial weight loss demonstrated significantly (P = 0.009) lower obestatin and a tendency (P = 0.064) to higher ghrelin concentrations at baseline. Changes in insulin were not related to changes in ghrelin or obestatin.
Conclusion: The increase in obestatin and the decrease in ghrelin in obese children point towards an adaptation process of weight status. Weight reduction due to a long-term lifestyle intervention resulted in an increase in obestatin levels.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00435734.