To reconsider ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin plasma levels in children with epilepsy in order to establish a possible relation with response to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).
We designed an observational study in which 114 patients with epilepsy were classified as responders (77) or nonresponders (37) and compared to 59 controls. In these patients, we measured ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin by immunoassays in blood samples obtained after overnight fast.
Ghrelin plasma levels were higher (+94%; p < 0.001, Dunn test) in responders compared to controls. Des-acyl ghrelin plasma levels were also higher in the same group (+55%; p < 0.001). In addition, both hormones were unmodified in nonresponders compared to controls. By comparing responders to nonresponders, ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin, respectively, were +126% (p < 0.001) and +29% (p < 0.001) in patients with a positive response to AEDs.
These results indicate that ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin plasma levels are especially high in patients with epilepsy who positively respond to AEDs. In view of the anticonvulsant properties of ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin, we propose that their higher levels could play a role in modulating the response to AEDs. Moreover, these peptides could be promising markers of response to AEDs.