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Valentina Vicennati, Silvia Genghini, Rosaria De Iasio, Francesca Pasqui, Uberto Pagotto and Renato Pasquali

Objective: We measured blood levels of obestatin, total ghrelin, and the ghrelin/obestatin ratio and their relationship with anthropometric and metabolic parameters, adiponectin and insulin resistance, in overweight/obese and normal-weight women.

Design: Outpatients Unit of Endocrinology of the S Orsola-Malpighi Hospital of Bologna, Italy.

Methods: Fasting obestatin, ghrelin, adiponectin and lipid levels, fasting and glucose-stimulated oral glucose tolerance test insulin, and glucose levels were measured in 20 overweight/obese and 12 controls. The fasting ghrelin/obestatin ratio was calculated; the homeostasis model assessment-IR (HOMA-IR) and insulin sensitivity index (ISIcomposite) were calculated as indices of insulin resistance.

Results: Obese women had higher obestatin and lower ghrelin blood levels, and a lower ghrelin/obestatin ratio compared with controls. In all subjects, obestatin was significantly and positively correlated with total cholesterol and triglycerides, but not with ghrelin, anthropometric, and metabolic parameters. In the obese women, however, obestatin and ghrelin concentrations were positively correlated. By contrast, the ghrelin/obestatin ratio was significantly and negatively correlated with body mass index, waist, waist-to-hip ratio, fasting insulin, and HOMA-IR, and positively with ISIcomposite but not with adiponectin. None of these parameters were correlated with the ghrelin/obestatin ratio in the obese.

Conclusions: Increased obestatin, decreased ghrelin levels, and a decreased ghrelin/obestatin ratio characterize obesity in women. This supports the hypothesis that the imbalance of ghrelin and obestatin may have a role in the pathophysiology of obesity. On the other hand, some relevant differences between our data on circulating levels of obestatin and the ghrelin/obestatin ratio in obese subjects and those reported in the few studies published so far imply that further research is needed.

Free access

Guido Di Dalmazi, Valentina Vicennati, Eleonora Rinaldi, Antonio Maria Morselli-Labate, Emanuela Giampalma, Cristina Mosconi, Uberto Pagotto and Renato Pasquali


Subclinical Cushing's syndrome (SCS) is defined as alterations in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis without classic signs/symptoms of glucocorticoid excess. Whether SCS leads to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases is still controversial.


To evaluate the prevalence of hypertension, type 2 diabetes (T2D), coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic stroke, osteoporosis, and fractures, and their relationship to increasing patterns of subclinical hypercortisolism, in patients with nonsecreting adrenal adenomas (NSA) and SCS.


Using the 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST), 348 patients were classified as follows: 203 were defined as NSA and 19 SCS, using the most stringent cutoff values (<50 and >138 nmol/l respectively). Patients with cortisol post-DST (50–138 nmol/l) were considered as intermediate phenotypes and classified as minor (n=71) and major (n=55) using plasma ACTH and/or urinary free cortisol as additional diagnostic tools.


SCS patients showed higher prevalence of T2D, CHD, osteoporosis, and fractures with respect to NSA. Intermediate phenotypes also showed higher prevalence of CHD and T2D with respect to NSA. The prevalence of all clinical outcomes was not different between intermediate phenotype patients, which were therefore considered as a single group (IP) for multivariate logistic regression analysis: both IP and SCS-secreting patterns showed a significant association with CHD (odds ratio (OR), 4.09; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.47–11.38 and OR, 6.10; 95% CI, 1.41–26.49 respectively), independently of other potential risk factors. SCS was also independently associated with osteoporosis (OR, 5.94; 95% CI, 1.79–19.68).


Patterns of increasing subclinical hypercortisolism in adrenal adenomas are associated with increased prevalence of adverse metabolic and cardiovascular outcomes, independently of other potential risk factors.

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Alessandra Gambineri, Valentina Vicennati, Guido Di Dalmazi, Carla Pelusi, Paola Altieri, Flaminia Fanelli, Andrea Repaci, Silvia Garelli, Danilo Ribichini and Uberto Pagotto