Daily treatment with the gut hormone ghrelin is effective in sustaining an improved appetite in patients on dialysis, suggests a study published online in Kidney International.
Malnutrition is a frequent and early feature of chronic kidney disease, and is also associated with increased mortality in dialysis patients. In most cases no cause of malnutrition can be identified, but it may indicate inadequate dialysis or co-morbidity.
Damien Ashby and colleagues found that daily subcutaneous application of the hormone, which regulates hunger through the hypothalamus, increased patients' appetites without changing energy expenditure. The hormone also had a temporary effect in reducing patients' blood pressure. Researchers hope that further investigation into long-term application of ghrelin can assist in providing a healthy diet to malnourished dialysis patients.
Damien R. Ashby (Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK)
Abstract available online.
(C) Kidney International press release.
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