Decreased acylated and total ghrelin levels in bipolar disorder patients recovering from a manic episode

Karim Abdel Aziz, Fadwa Al-Mugaddam, Subi Sugathan, Prashanth Saseedharan, Tarek Jouini, Mohamed Elhassan Elamin, Hamdy Moselhy, Dina Aly El-Gabry, Danilo Arnone, Sherif M. Karam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: To date, only few studies have investigated ghrelin levels in bipolar disorders, and all have exclusively measured acylated ghrelin, with none investigating total ghrelin (acylated and des-acylated). We aimed to investigate peripheral levels of acylated and total ghrelin in subjects experiencing a manic episode of bipolar disorder. Methods: Peripheral levels of acylated and total ghrelin were measured in hospitalised medicated individuals recovering from a manic episode. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were used to measure ghrelin levels in patients and compared with healthy controls. The relationship between ghrelin levels in bipolar disorder, self-reported hunger measures, demographic and clinical parameters was investigated with correlational analyses. Results: Twenty-four subjects (15 males, 9 females) recovering from mania and 27 matched healthy controls (13 males, 14 females) were recruited for the study. Mean values of both acylated (187 vs.520 pg/mL) and total ghrelin (396 vs. 648 pg/mL) were significantly reduced in bipolar disorder (p = 0.001). Ghrelin levels correlated positively with markers of illness severity and negatively with prescribed mood stabilizers, second-generation antipsychotics, weight and body mass index. Conclusion: Peripheral measurements of acylated and total ghrelin were both reduced in bipolar disorder patients compared to healthy controls. Whilst illness severity promotes higher ghrelin levels, pharmacological treatment and weight gain exercise the opposite effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Acylated ghrelin
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Des-acylated ghrelin
  • Euthymia
  • Mania
  • Total ghrelin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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