The Role of Ghrelin in Eating Behavior



Ghrelin is the endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagouge receptor-1a and is released from the basolateral membrane of the X/A-type cells in the mucosal layer of the stomach. Factors regulating ghrelin secretion include energy status, time of meals, and nutrient components of the meal. There are two forms of ghrelin in the circulation: des-acyl ghrelin and acyl ghrelin, with the acylated peptide being the biologically active form. Ghrelin increases motility of the gastrointestinal tract from the stomach to the colon as well as stimulating secretion of gastric acid. Both systemic as well as central exogenous ghrelin stimulate food intake and secretion of growth hormone. To increase food intake, ghrelin acts through both endocrine and paracrine pathways. In the central nervous system, ghrelin activates neurons in the hindbrain and hypothalamus that are heavily involved in the control of food intake and produce orexigenic neuropeptides. Ghrelin may also play a role in the intake of palatable food as it increases the consumption of high-fat foods as well as other preferred nutrients. Finally, ghrelin shares antagonistic interactions with several peripheral satiety peptides. This chapter summarizes the role of ghrelin as an agent inducing food intake, its mechanisms of action, and its potential participation in the regulation of energy homeostasis.


Ghrelin Level Increase Food Intake Palatable Food Plasma Ghrelin Level Acyl Ghrelin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Area postrema


Arcuate nucleus




Central nervous system


Dorsomedial hypothalamus


Dorsal vagal complex


Fos-like immunoreactivity


Growth hormone


Growth hormone secretagogue




Glucagon-like peptide-1


Gastric O-acyl transferase










messenger RNA


Nucleus tractus solitarius


Paraventricular nucleus


Peptide tyrosine-tyrosine


Ventromedial hypothalamus


  1. Aguirre V, Stylopoulos N, et al. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16:2585–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ariyasu H, Takaya K, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86:4753–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asakawa A, Inui A, et al. Gut. 2003;52:947–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asakawa A, Inui A, et al. Gastroenterology. 2001;120:337–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bagnasco M, Tulipano G, et al. Regul Pept. 2003;111:161–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bomberg EM, Grace MK, et al. Neuroreport. 2007;18:591–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burdyga G, Varro A, et al. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006;290:G1289–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chelikani PK, Haver AC, et al. Diabetes. 2006;55:3038–46.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen HY, Trumbauer ME, et al. Endocrinology. 2004;145:2607–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cowley MA, Smith RG, et al. Neuron. 2003;37:649–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummings DE, Shannon MH. Arch Surg. 2003;138:389–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cummings DE, Purnell JQ, et al. Diabetes. 2001;50:1714–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cummings DE, Weigle DS, et al. N Engl J Med. 2002;346:1623–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Currie PJ, Mirza A, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005;289:R353–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Date Y, Murakami N, et al. Gastroenterology. 2002;123:1120–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Date Y, Kojima M, et al. Endocrinology. 2000;141:4255–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Date Y, Toshinai K, et al. Endocrinology. 2005;146:3518–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Date Y, Shimbara T, et al. Cell Metab. 2006;4:323–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. de Lartigue G, Dimaline R, et al. J Neurosci. 2007;27:2876–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Drazen DL, Vahl TP, et al. Endocrinology. 2006;147:23–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Druce MR, Wren AM, et al. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005;29:1130–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Faulconbridge LF, Cummings DE, et al. Diabetes. 2003;52:2260–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Feinle-Bisset C, Patterson M, et al. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005;289:E948–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Foster-Schubert KE, Overduin J, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:1971–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilg S, Lutz TA. Physiol Behav. 2006;87:353–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goto M, Arima H, et al. Endocrinology. 2006;147:5102–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Guan XM, Yu H, et al. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1997;48:23–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Halem HA, Taylor JE, et al. Eur J Endocrinol. 2004;151 Suppl 1:S71–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hashimoto H, Fujihara H, et al. Endocrinology. 2007;148:1638–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hewson AK, Tung LY, et al. Diabetes. 2002;51:3412–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holdstock C, Engstrom BE, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88:3177–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hosoda H, Kojima M, et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000;279:909–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hosoda H, Kojima M, et al. J Biol Chem. 2003;278:64–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jeon TY, Lee S, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89:5392–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kamegai J, Tamura H, et al. Diabetes. 2001;50:2438–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kinzig KP, Scott KA, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006;290:R1565–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kojima M, Hosoda H, et al. Nature. 1999;402:656–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lawrence CB, Snape AC, et al. Endocrinology. 2002;143:155–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. le Roux CW, Neary NM, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90:4521–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Liu X, York DA, et al. Peptides. 2004;25:2171–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lu S, Guan JL, et al. Neurosci Lett. 2002;321:157–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Masuda Y, Tanaka T, et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000;276:905–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nagaya N, Itoh T, et al. Chest. 2005;128:1187–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nakazato M, Murakami N, et al. Nature. 2001;409:194–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Naleid AM, Grace MK, et al. Peptides. 2005;26:2274–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Neary NM, Small CJ, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89:2832–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Otto B, Cuntz U, et al. Eur J Endocrinol. 2001;145:669–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Salome N, Hansson C, et al. J Neuroendocrinol. 2009.Google Scholar
  49. Sato N, Kanai S, et al. Jpn J Physiol. 2003;53:443–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shimbara T, Mondal MS, et al. Neurosci Lett. 2004;369:75–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shintani M, Ogawa Y, et al. Diabetes. 2001;50:227–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Takayama K, Johno Y, et al. Neurosci Lett. 2007;417:292–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tamura H, Kamegai J, et al. Endocrinology. 2002;143:3268–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tang-Christensen M, Vrang N, et al. Endocrinology. 2004;145:4645–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Theander-Carrillo C, Wiedmer P, et al. J Clin Invest. 2006;116:1983–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tschop M, Smiley DL, et al. Nature. 2000;407:908–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tups A, Helwig M, et al. J Neuroendocrinol. 2004;16:922–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. van der Lely AJ, Tschop M, et al. Endocr Rev. 2004;25:426–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang L, Saint-Pierre DH, et al. Neurosci Lett. 2002;325:47–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Williams DL, Cummings DE, et al. Endocrinology. 2003;144:2765–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wolden-Hanson T. Physiol Behav. 2006;88:267–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wren AM, Seal LJ, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001a;86:5992.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wren AM, Small CJ, et al. Endocrinology. 2000;141:4325–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wren AM, Small CJ, et al. Diabetes. 2001b;50:2540–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yabuki A, Ojima T, et al. J Anat. 2004;205:239–46.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yang J, Brown MS, et al. Cell. 2008;132:387–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yokota I, Kitamura S, et al. Endocr J. 2005;52:271–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zigman JM, Nakano Y, et al. J Clin Invest. 2005;115:3564–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zorrilla EP, Iwasaki S, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2006;103:13226–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INRAÉcologie et Physiologie du Système DigestifJouy-en-JosasFrance

Personalised recommendations