Open Access Open Badges Research article

Ghrelin and adipokines as circulating markers of disease activity in patients with Takayasu arteritis

Hatice Yilmaz1, Vedat Gerdan2, Didem Kozaci3, Dilek Solmaz2, Servet Akar2, Gercek Can2, Aytac Gulcu4, Yigit Goktay4, Ismail Sari2, Merih Birlik2, Nurullah Akkoc2 and Fatos Onen2*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Inciralti/Izmir, 35340, Turkey

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Inciralti/Izmir, 35340, Turkey

3 Adnan Menderes University Science and Technology Research Center, Aydin, 09010, Turkey

4 Department of Radiodiagnostics, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Inciralti/Izmir, 35340, Turkey

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R272  doi:10.1186/ar4120

Published: 21 December 2012



The current markers of disease activity in Takayasu arteritis (TA) are insufficient for proper assessment. We investigated circulating levels of unacylated and acylated ghrelin, leptin and adiponectin and their relationships with disease activity in patients with TA.


This study included 31 patients with TA and 32 sex-, age- and body mass index-matched healthy controls. Disease activity was assessed in TA patients using various tools, including Kerr's criteria, disease extent index-Takayasu, physician's global assessment, radiological parameters, and laboratory markers. Plasma unacylated and acylated ghrelin, and serum leptin and adiponectin levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Unacylated and acylated ghrelin levels were found to be significantly lower in TA patients than that in healthy controls. Patients with active disease had lower unacylated ghrelin levels than those with inactive disease and had lower acylated ghrelin levels than healthy controls. Ghrelin levels were negatively correlated with various parameters of disease activity. The leptin/ghrelin ratio was significantly higher in TA patients than controls. It was positively correlated with disease activity. There was a positive correlation between unacylated and acylated ghrelin and a negative correlation between leptin and ghrelin. There was no statistical difference in adiponectin levels between TA patients and controls. The radiological activity markers were positively correlated with other parameters of disease activity.


This study suggests that plasma unacylated and acylated ghrelin levels may be useful in monitoring disease activity and planning treatment strategies for patients with TA. The serum leptin level and leptin/ghrelin ratio may also be used to help assess the disease activity.