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Title: Ghrelin: much more than a hunger hormone

item PRADHAN, GEETALI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item SAMSON, SUSAN - Baylor College Of Medicine
item SUN, YUXIANG - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2013
Publication Date: 11/1/2013
Citation: Pradhan, G., Samson, S.L., Sun, Y. 2013. Ghrelin: much more than a hunger hormone. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 16(6):619-624.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ghrelin is a multifaceted gut hormone that activates its receptor, growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R). Ghrelin's hallmark functions are its stimulatory effects on growth hormone release, food intake and fat deposition. Ghrelin is famously known as the 'hunger hormone'. However, ample recent literature indicates that the functions of ghrelin go well beyond its role as an orexigenic signal. Here, we have reviewed some of the most recent findings on ghrelin and its signalling in animals and humans. Ghrelin regulates glucose homeostasis by inhibiting insulin secretion and regulating gluconeogenesis/glycogenolysis. Ghrelin signalling decreases thermogenesis to regulate energy expenditure. Ghrelin improves the survival prognosis of myocardial infarction by reducing sympathetic nerve activity. Ghrelin prevents muscle atrophy by inducing muscle differentiation and fusion. Ghrelin regulates bone formation and metabolism by modulating proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts. In addition to ghrelin's effects on appetite and adiposity, ghrelin signalling also plays crucial roles in glucose and energy homeostasis, cardioprotection, muscle atrophy and bone metabolism. These multifaceted roles of ghrelin make ghrelin and GHS-R highly attractive targets for drug development. Ghrelin mimetics may be used to treat heart diseases, muscular dystrophy/sarcopenia and osteoporosis; GHS-R antagonists may be used to treat obesity and insulin resistance.