Background: Leptin and ghrelin appear to play a role in weight regain after a successful weight loss. The pre-treatment plasma levels of leptin/ghrelin ratio (L/G) could have power to predict this clinically relevant issue in the obesity treatment.
Objective: To evaluate the ability of the L/G as a non-invasive tool for the early discrimination of obese patients who are more likely to regain weight after an energy restriction program (regainers) from those who maintain the lost weight (non-regainers).
Subjects and Methods: Fasting leptin and ghrelin levels were evaluated in 88 overweight/obese patients who followed an 8-week hypocaloric diet program and were categorized as regainers (¿10 % weight-lost regain) and non-regainers (<10 % weight-lost regain) 6 months (32 weeks) after finishing the dietary treatment. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was employed to evaluate the diagnostic value of the L/G ratio and to establish a cut-off point to differentiate regainers from non-regainers.
Results: Regainers showed a statistically higher baseline (week 0) and after treatment (week 8) L/G ratio than non-regainers. The baseline L/G ratio was associated with an increased risk for weight regain (odds ratio 1.051; p = 0.008). Using the area under the ROC curve (AUC), the L/G ratio significantly identified female (AUC = 0.69; p = 0.040) and male regainers (AUC = 0.68; p = 0.030). The maximum combination of sensitivity and specificity was shown at the cut-off point of 26.0 for women and 9.5 for men.
Conclusions: The pre-intervention fasting leptin/ghrelin ratio could be a useful non-invasive approach to personalize obesity therapy and avoid unsuccessful treatment outcomes.