The objective of the present study was to examine the association of acylated and total ghrelin levels at birth in preterm infants with anthropometric features and with related hormones in infants and their mothers.
Prospective, descriptive study.
In total 23 pregnant women and their 26 preterm infants were involved in the study (3 twin pregnancies; gestational age, 25–35 weeks). Maternal and umbilical vein blood samples were taken after the delivery. Serum acylated and total ghrelin, leptin, cortisol, insulin, GH, and glucose were determined.
The mean level of acylated ghrelin concentration was higher in the maternal than in the cord blood (P<0.01) and there was a significant correlation between the fetal and maternal acylated ghrelin levels (P<0.01). The total ghrelin concentration was higher in neonates than in mothers (P<0.01), but there was no correlation between them. The multivariate regression analysis for fetal acylated and maternal total ghrelin as dependent variables shows that the fetal acylated ghrelin has two independent predictors, the maternal acylated ghrelin (P<0.01) and the fetal cortisol (P<0.05), whereas the maternal total ghrelin has only one independent predictor, the maternal glucose (P<0.05).
These data provide the first evidence that umbilical cord acylated ghrelin concentrations are lower than in maternal blood and support the hypothesis that the acylation process in the fetus is partly affected by cortisol and the placenta may play a role in this process.