Background Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a systemic connective tissue disease characterised by immune system changes, fibrosis of the skin and internal organs involvement and diffuse microangiopathy. Ghrelin, a 28 amino acid peptide, was found to be a potent releaser of growth hormone (GH) and actively participate in controlling energy balance and regulation of food intake. Ghrelin has reported to be synthesized by several immun system cells and can also modulate the inflammatory response. In literature, there are so many studies investigating possible role of ghrelin in many diseases. It was hypothesized that this peptide may exert immunoregulatory effects on immune system. There is currently no published evidence demonstrating a role for anti-inflammatory effects of ghrelin in SSc.
Objectives For this reason, we investigated the role of plasma ghrelin levels in patients with SSc.
Methods Plasma samples were obtained from 38 patients (22 ISSc, 16 DSSc) with SSc (26 female, 12 male, mean age; 29.2 ± 6.9 years, mean disease duration 8.3 ± 2.9 years) and from 16 healthy controls (10 female, 6 male; mean age 31.7 ± 7.2 years). We recorded clinical (ulcers, teleangectasias, calcinosis, skin score, heart and lung involvement) and immunological characteristics (ANA, scl 70) of patients. Plasma ghrelin levels were determined by EIA.
Results The mean plasma ghrelin levels were 227.9 ± 45.1 pg/ml in patients with SSc and 69.2 ± 4.7 pg/ml in healthy controls. Plasma ghrelin levels were significantly high in patients with SSc compared to healthy controls (p<0.001). Plasma ghrelin levels were significantly high in DSSc patients and Scl70 positive patients and correlated with skin score (p<0.001, p<0.01 and r=0.524, p<0.001 respectively).
Conclusions In this study, we demonstrated that plasma unacylated ghrelin levels were significantly elevated in patients with SSc. It is showed that ghrelin may play significant role of the pathogenesis of SSc, especially DSSc. The high levels of plasma ghrelin level might support a role of ghrelin and similar anti inflammatory proteins in SSc.
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Acknowledgements No disclosure of interest.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared