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Eur J Nutr. 2009 Apr;48(3):176-83. doi: 10.1007/s00394-009-0779-2. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

Fasting ghrelin is related to skeletal muscle mass in healthy adults.

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  • 1University of Adelaide Discipline of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia. kamilia.tai@alumni.adelaide.edu.au



The determinants of plasma ghrelin concentrations including the effects of aging, gender, and body composition, are unclear. Appetite and energy intake decrease with advancing age, and there is a corresponding decline in total body lean tissue, and an increase in fat mass.


We measured fasting plasma ghrelin and insulin concentrations in 52 healthy subjects aged 22-82 years, and assessed body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Energy intake was estimated from diet diaries.


Fasting ghrelin concentrations were not significantly correlated with age and energy intake (R = 0.07, P = 0.62; and R = -0.14, P = 0.34 respectively) on univariate regression analysis, and ghrelin concentrations were higher in females than males (2886.8 +/- 182.1 pg/ml vs 2082.5 +/- 121.2 pg/ml; P = 0.001). Ghrelin was inversely related to body mass index (R = -0.328, P = 0.018), fat-free body mass (R = -0.428, P = 0.002), and total skeletal muscle mass (R = -0.439, P = 0.001), but not related to body fat mass (R = 0.177, P = 0.208). On multiple regression analysis, total skeletal muscle mass (corrected for height) was the only significant negative predictor (P < 0.0001) of fasting ghrelin concentrations.


In conclusion, in healthy adults, plasma ghrelin concentrations are not significantly influenced by age or energy intake per se, but relate to skeletal muscle mass.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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