BACKGROUND: In spite of the increasing information that has recently been accumulated on the involvement of ghrelin and leptin in energy balance control, the relationship between ghrelin or leptin and the growth hormone (GH)-Insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis in the pathological condition characterized by growth hormone deficiency (GHD) has been poorly clarified. Therefore, we performed this study to evaluate the correlation of the plasma levels of ghrelin and leptin with the anthropometric and biochemical markers in GHD adults and also in healthy adults. METHODS: For the 60 male adults (GHD, n = 12; healthy control, n = 48; average age, 54 years), we investigated the correlations between the serum leptin and ghrelin levels with the anthropometric and biochemical factors in the two groups, as divided by their GH status. The diagnosis of GHD was made on the basis of a peak response for serum GH of less than 5 micro/L to a GH provocative test (L-dopa test). All the subjects underwent assessment of waist circumference, BMI and percentage body fat for their body composition. The plasma ghrelin, leptin, insulin, GH and IGF-1 were measured. RESULTS: The groups were well-matched for their age, BMI, waist circumference and percentage of body fat. The ghrelin and leptin levels were not significantly different between the two groups. There was no correlation between the peak GH level or the area under the curve of growth hormone (GHAUC) and the ghrelin concentrations in the GHD subjects. Plasma leptin correlated positively with the percentage of body fat, the total cholesterol and the LDL-cholesterol, but it had no correlation with the peak GH or GHAUC in the GHD subjects. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that the ghrelin concentrations appeared normal in the GHD subjects. Further studies are needed to clarify these controversies about the relation of ghrelin and leptin with the GH and IGF-1 levels.