Pediatric obstructive sleep-disordered breathing is associated with growth retardation, but also with obesity that has a tendency to persist following treatment. We investigated the effect of upper airways obstruction (AO) and of obstruction removal (OR) in juvenile rats on gut-derived ghrelin and related hypothalamic factors, feeding, and growth hormone (GH) homeostasis. Here, we show that after seven weeks of AO, animals gained less weight compared to controls, despite an increase in food intake due to elevated ghrelin and hypothalamic feeding factors. OR rats who had complete restoration of tracheal diameter, consumed more food due to increased ghrelin and exhibited growth retardation due to deregulation of GH homeostasis. This study is the first to show dysregulation of the hormonal axes controlling feeding behavior and growth that are not fully restored following OR. Thus, surgical treatment by itself may not be sufficient to prevent post-surgical increased food intake and growth retardation.
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