Background: Ghrelin is a brain-gut peptide with GH-releasing and appetite-inducing properties. Because ghrelin is secreted mainly by the stomach, fasting levels fall after distal gastrectomy. The vagal nerve is responsible for periprandial changes. The presents study investigated the impact of preserving the celiac branch of the vagus nerve during laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy on postoperative ghrelin secretion. Method: Between May 2009 and July 2010, 42 consecutive patients who underwent LADG were divided into two groups, the first in which the celiac branch of the vagus was preserved ("Preserved," n = 21) and the second in which it was not ("Not Preserved," n = 21). Blood samples were collected for assays of several hormones, including ghrelin, leptin, and insulin; these were taken before and 2 h after breakfast on postoperative day 7. Results: There were no significant differences in the background characteristics of the two groups. Plasma fasting ghrelin decreased significantly after LADG, by about 50 % of the baseline values in both groups. Postprandial plasma ghrelin levels in the Preserved group were significantly lower than those in the Not Preserved group (23 ± 8 vs 32 ± 9 fmol/ml; p = 0.0058). The ratio of the total ghrelin concentration after breakfast to that before was defined as the A/B ratio. The mean preoperative and postoperative A/B ratios were almost the same in the Preserved group (preoperative vs postoperative: 0.41 vs 0.44; p = 0.52). On the other hand, the mean A/B ratio in the Not Preserved group increased from 0.41 to 0.61 postoperatively (preoperative vs postoperative; p = 0.0003). Preservation of the celiac branch of the vagus nerve during LADG was related to the prandial ghrelin changes.
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