Leptin and Ghrelin in Relation to Helicobacter pylori Status in Adult Males

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Leptin and ghrelin, hormones involved in human energy homeostasis, are both produced in the stomach.


We sought to determine whether the presence of Helicobacter pylori affects gastric and systemic levels of leptin and ghrelin.

Design, Setting, and Patients:

We consecutively enrolled 256 patients referred for upper endoscopy at a Veterans Affairs outpatient endoscopy center.


We obtained fasting serum, fundic and antral biopsies, and gastric juice. Based on histological, biochemical, and serological assays, patients were categorized as H. pylori+ or H. pylori−. Leptin and total ghrelin levels in serum, gastric biopsies, and gastric juice were determined by specific ELISAs.


Of the 256 subjects, 120 were H. pylori+ and 96 were H. pylori−; 40 patients of indeterminate status were excluded. Serum and fundic leptin levels correlated with body mass index in the H. pylori+ (r = 0.35; P < 0.0001 and r = 0.35; P < 0.0001, respectively) and H. pylori− (r = 0.65; P < 0.0001 and r = 0.41; P < 0.0001, respectively) groups, but H. pylori+ subjects had significantly lower serum leptin levels [median 2.2 ng/ml (interquartile range 0.9-4.6) vs. 4.0 ng/ml (1.7-7.2); P = 0.0003]. Serum ghrelin levels were similar in the H. pylori+ and H. pylori− groups [median 1651 pg/ml (interquartile range 845-2247) vs. 1629 pg/ml (992-2886); P = 0.23]. H. pylori status did not significantly affect gastric biopsy leptin and ghrelin levels. Ghrelin levels in gastric juice varied over 4 log10 (<80-776,000 pg/ml) and correlated with gastric juice pH in the H. pylori+ group (r = 0.68; P < 0.0001).


These findings provide evidence that H. pylori status affects leptin and ghrelin homeostasis, presumably via intragastric interactions.

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