Table of Contents
International Journal of Peptides
Volume 2010, Article ID 234709, 25 pages
Review Article

Effect of Ghrelin on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: Therapeutic Implications

1Department of Medicine, School of Health Science, University of A Coruña, Xubias de Arriba 84, 15006 A Coruña, Spain
2Institute of Biomedical Investigations (INIBIC), Group of Endocrinology, Xubias de Arriba, 84, 15006 A Coruña, Spain
3Department of Endocrinology, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruña, Xubias de Arriba, 84, 15006 A Coruña, Spain

Received 21 September 2009; Accepted 23 November 2009

Academic Editor: Akio Inui

Copyright © 2010 Susana Sangiao-Alvarellos and Fernando Cordido. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ghrelin is a 28-amino-acid peptide that displays a strong growth hormone- (GH-) releasing activity through the activation of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR). The first studies about role of ghrelin were focused on its orexigenic ability, but despite indisputable pharmacological data, the evidence for a physiological role for ghrelin in the control of appetite is much less clear. Mice with targeted deletion of either ghrelin or the GHSR exhibit an essentially normal metabolic phenotype when fed a regular chow diet, suggesting that ghrelin may have a redundant role in the regulation of food intake. RNAs for ghrelin as well as GHSR are expressed in the pancreas of rats and humans and several studies propose that ghrelin could have an important function in glucose homeostasis and insulin release, independent of GH secretion. Low plasma ghrelin levels are associated with elevated fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, suggesting both physiological and pathophysiological roles for ghrelin. For this reason, at least theoretically, ghrelin and/or its signalling manipulation could be useful for the treatment or prevention of diseases of glucose homeostasis such as type 2 diabetes.