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Ghrelin Increases Gastric Emptying in Diabetics

Seven out of 10 insulin-requiring diabetics aided by ghrelin infusions

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Ghrelin enhances gastric emptying in diabetics with gastroparesis, a condition with no consistently effective treatment, according to a study in the December issue of Gut.

Anton V. Emmanuel, M.D., of St. Mark's Hospital in Harrow, U.K., and colleagues gave 10 insulin-dependent diabetics (six with type 1 diabetes) a two-hour infusion of either ghrelin or saline on two separate occasions. They calculated gastric emptying time using real-time ultrasound after a test meal.

The researchers found that ghrelin infusion increased serum levels from 445 pmol/l to a peak plasma level of 2,786 pmol/l at 90 minutes. Ghrelin aided gastric emptying in seven out of 10 diabetics, the report indicates.

"Ghrelin increases gastric emptying in patients with diabetic gastroparesis," the authors write. "This is independent of vagal tone. We propose that analogues of ghrelin may represent a new class of prokinetic agents."

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