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      Evaluation of ghrelin level and appetite regulation in patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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          Appetite reduction is a major cause of cachexia in acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). This study tested the correlation of appetite and circulating levels of acylated ghrelin in patients with AECOPD.


          Thirty-six patients with AECOPD and 23 healthy adults were enrolled in this study. Circulating total ghrelin, acylated ghrelin, and obestatin levels, Simplified Nutritional Appetite Questionnaire (SNAQ) score, and caloric intake were compared in patients and healthy controls. Additionally, the above parameters were compared between admission and discharge in the patients with AECOPD.


          Compared with healthy controls, SNAQ scores and caloric intake were significantly lower in patients with AECOPD, but there were no significant differences in total ghrelin, acyl ghrelin, or obestatin levels. In patients with AECOPD, the total ghrelin level was significantly higher at admission than on discharge, the SNAQ score and caloric intake were significantly increased at discharge when compared with admission, and there was no significant difference in acylated ghrelin level between admission and discharge.


          We demonstrated lower appetite scores and caloric intake in patients with AECOPD, but could not confirm that these effects were caused by insufficient levels of the orexigenic peptide, acyl ghrelin. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and to determine the mechanism regulating appetite in patients with AECOPD.

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          Most cited references 18

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          A receptor in pituitary and hypothalamus that functions in growth hormone release.

          Small synthetic molecules termed growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) act on the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus to stimulate and amplify pulsatile growth hormone (GH) release. A heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptor (GPC-R) of the pituitary and arcuate ventro-medial and infundibular hypothalamus of swine and humans was cloned and was shown to be the target of the GHSs. On the basis of its pharmacological and molecular characterization, this GPC-R defines a neuroendocrine pathway for the control of pulsatile GH release and supports the notion that the GHSs mimic an undiscovered hormone.
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            Obestatin, a peptide encoded by the ghrelin gene, opposes ghrelin's effects on food intake.

            Ghrelin, a circulating appetite-inducing hormone, is derived from a prohormone by posttranslational processing. On the basis of the bioinformatic prediction that another peptide also derived from proghrelin exists, we isolated a hormone from rat stomach and named it obestatin-a contraction of obese, from the Latin "obedere," meaning to devour, and "statin," denoting suppression. Contrary to the appetite-stimulating effects of ghrelin, treatment of rats with obestatin suppressed food intake, inhibited jejunal contraction, and decreased body-weight gain. Obestatin bound to the orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR39. Thus, two peptide hormones with opposing action in weight regulation are derived from the same ghrelin gene. After differential modification, these hormones activate distinct receptors.
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              Ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin: two major forms of rat ghrelin peptide in gastrointestinal tissue.

              Ghrelin, a novel peptide purified from stomach, is the endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor and has potent growth hormone-releasing activity. The Ser3 residue of ghrelin is modified by n-octanoic acid, a modification necessary for hormonal activity. We established two ghrelin-specific radioimmunoassays; one recognizes the octanoyl-modified portion and another the C-terminal portion of ghrelin. Using these radioimmunoassay systems, we found that two major molecular forms exist-ghrelin and des-n-octanoyl ghrelin. While ghrelin activates growth-hormone secretagogue (GHS) receptor-expressing cells, the nonmodified des-n-octanyl form of ghrelin, designated as des-acyl ghrelin, does not. In addition to these findings, our radioimmunoassay systems also revealed high concentrations of ghrelin in the stomach and small intestine.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                14 August 2014
                : 9
                : 863-870
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, West China Hospital of Sichuan University and Division of Pulmonary Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy of China, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Geriatrics, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Guizhou People’s Hospital, Guizhou, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Fuqiang Wen, Department of Respiratory Medicine, West China Hospital of Sichuan University and Division of Pulmonary Diseases, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy of China, Chengdu 610041, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 28 8542 2350, Fax +86 28 8558 2944, Email wenfuqiang.scu@

                These authors contributed equally to this work and share joint first authorship

                © 2014 Wang et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                ghrelin, appetite, pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, malnutrition, comorbidities


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