Fasting total ghrelin levels are increased in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Scoliosis. 2015 Nov 30;10:33. doi: 10.1186/s13013-015-0054-7. eCollection 2015.


Background: A control study was designed to investigate circulating Ghrelin levels in adolescent girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and controls. Eating behavioral disorders, endocrine disorders, abnormal growth pattern and osteopenia have been well documented in AIS. Ghrelin is an orexigenic hormone produced by the stomach which reflects body weight changes and stimulates growth hormone secretion. Recently, it has been shown to be associated with bone metabolism and eating behavior. However, the circulating levels of ghrelin have never been evaluated in AIS patients.

Methods: Forty nine AIS girls and 15 controls were included. Anthropometric parameters and fasting circulating total ghrelin were measured. Curve severity was evaluated in AIS girls. The relationships between ghrelin and age, body weight, height, body mass index (BMI), BMI Z-score and corrected anthropometric parameters were analyzed in AIS girls and controls.

Results: There was no significant difference in body weight, height, BMI or BMI Z-score between AIS and controls. Serum ghrelin level was 1.8 fold higher in AIS girls than in controls. Elevation of ghrelin levels remained significant when corrected BMI or corrected BMI Z-score were considered. Unlike in controls, positive correlations were found between ghrelin and age in AIS girls with a gradual increase of circulating ghrelin with age.

Conclusions: We have observed significantly higher circulating ghrelin levels in AIS than in controls with a positive correlation with age. This pilot-study suggests that ghrelin signaling might play a role in the initiation or development of AIS. Further studies are needed to validate theses results.

Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS); Ghrelin; Girl; Hormone; Spine.