Table of Contents
International Journal of Peptides
Volume 2011, Article ID 189242, 8 pages
Review Article

Use of Ghrelin as a Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Mechanistic Considerations

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, P.O. Box 800386, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA

Received 27 April 2011; Accepted 21 June 2011

Academic Editor: A. Inui

Copyright © 2011 Mark D. DeBoer. 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.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)—and in particular Crohn's disease—are immune-mediated processes that result in denuded intestinal mucosa and can produce decreased appetite, weight loss, and systemic inflammation. Current treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, immunomodulators, and feeding interventions. Ghrelin is an endogenous orexigenic hormone that directly stimulates growth hormone release, increases gut motility, and has cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties. Although ghrelin levels are elevated in active IBD, administration of ghrelin in most (but not all) animal models of colitis has produced improvements in disease activity and systemic inflammation. The mechanism for these effects is not known but may relate to decreased inflammation, increased motility, increased appetite, and increased colonic blood flow. Human trials have not been performed, however, and more research is clearly needed.