PURPOSE: Ghrelin stimulates the secretion of growth hormone and other pituitary hormones, and has orexigenic effects. It may have a physiologic role in fetal and neonatal growth. Leptin secreted by the adipocytes reflects fat mass in infants as well as adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation of cord blood ghrelin and leptin levels to body weight(BW), body mass index(BMI), insulin-like growth factor-I(IGF-I) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3(IGFBP-3) levels in appropriate for gestational age(AGA) newborns. METHODS: Sixty healthy AGA newborns(31 males and 29 females, gestational age[GA] 34-42 weeks) were included in this study, whose BW and BMI were measured at delivery. Umbilical cord venous blood samples were withdrawn, and ghrelin and leptin were measured by radioimmunoassay. Cord blood IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were determined by immunoradiometric assay. RESULTS: The mean levels of ghrelin were inversely correlated with BW(r=-0.29, P<0.05) and GA (r=-0.28, P<0.05), but were not affected by gender. The mean levels of leptin levels showed positive correlation with BW(r=0.44, P<0.01), GA(r=0.36, P<0.01), and BMI(r=0.28, P<0.05). The leptin levels of females were higher than those of males. There was no gender difference in leptin levels in neonates under GA 37 weeks. However, the leptin levels of females were higher than those of males (P<0.01) in newborns with GA 37 weeks or over. There was no correlation between ghrelin and leptin levels. Ghrelin and leptin levels showed no relations to cord blood IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that cord blood ghrelin may have an inverse correlation with BW in AGA newborns, and leptin levels are positively correlated with BW and fat mass. Further study of ghrelin concentrations in cord blood is necessary to elucidate the physiological and pathological roles of ghrelin during the fetal and neonatal periods.