Ghrelin and peptide YY Change during Puberty: Relationships with adolescent growth, development, and obesity

Hoi Lun Cheng, Amanda Sainsbury, Frances Garden, Myuran Sritharan, Karen Paxton, Georgina Luscombe, Catherine Hawke, Katharine Steinbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Pubertal adolescents show strong appetites. How this is mediated is unclear, but ghrelin and peptide YY (PYY) play potentially important roles. Objective: To measure ghrelin and PYY change in relation to pubertal growth. Design: Three-year prospective cohort study. Setting: Australian regional community. Participants: Eighty healthy adolescents (26 girls; 54 boys) recruited at 10 to 13 years. Main Outcome Measures: Fasting circulating total ghrelin, total PYY, IGF-1, insulin, leptin (via radioimmunoassay), estradiol and testosterone (via mass spectrometry), anthropometry, and body composition (via bioelectrical impedance). Results: Adolescents exhibited normal developmental change. Mixed models revealed positive associations for ghrelin to age 2 (both sexes: P < 0.05), indicating a U-shaped trend over time. Ghrelin was also inversely associated with IGF-1 (both sexes: P < 0.05), leptin in girls (P < 0.01), and insulin in boys (P < 0.05) and negatively correlated with annual height and weight velocity (both sexes: P ≤ 0.01). PYY showed no age-related change in either sex. Neither ghrelin nor PYY were associated with Tanner stage. Weight subgroup analyses showed significant ghrelin associations with age 2 in healthy-weight but not overweight and obese adolescents (7 girls; 18 boys). Conclusions: Adolescents showed a U-shaped change in ghrelin corresponding to physical and biochemical markers of growth, and no change in PYY. The overweight and obesity subgroup exhibited an apparent loss of the U-shaped ghrelin trend, but this finding may be attributed to greater maturity and its clinical significance is unclear. Further research on weight-related ghrelin and PYY trends at puberty is needed to understand how these peptides influence growth and longterm metabolic risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2851-2860
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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