Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a multi-factorial disorder including central obesity (CO), insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and hypertension which increases the risk of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. CO is considered as an essential component of MetS according to International Diabetes Federation (IDF), which may further modulate distinct signalling pathways compared with the other four MetS risk factors. Given that ghrelin signalling and the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 (GH/IGF-1) axis regulates energy balance and metabolic homeostasis, this study examined the changes in various ghrelin products and circulating hormones in response to the interaction between CO and other MetS components including blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in 133 Hong Kong Chinese adults. Circulating obestatin and GH were increased and reduced, respectively, by either CO or the other 4-risk factor cluster. These changes were further augmented by the presence of all MetS risk factors. However, changes of ghrelin levels were not mediated by CO but the other MetS risk factors. Our findings suggest that CO does not predict all the dysregulation of signalling pathways in individuals with MetS. Although CO and other MetS may share common signalling targets (i.e., obestatin and GH), CO does not contribute to the perturbation of ghrelin signalling.
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