Ghrelin - Not just another stomach hormone

Guiyun Wang, Heung Man Lee, Ella Englander, George H. Greeley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Growth hormone (GH) secretagogues (GHSs) are non-natural, synthetic substances that stimulate GH secretion via a G-protein-coupled receptor called the GHS-receptor (GHS-R). The natural ligand for the GHS-R has been identified recently; it is called ghrelin. Ghrelin and its receptor show a widespread distribution in the body; the greatest expression of ghrelin is in stomach endocrine cells. Administration of exogenous ghrelin has been shown to stimulate pituitary GH secretion, appetite, body growth and fat deposition. Ghrelin was probably designed to be a major anabolic hormone. Ghrelin also exerts several other activities in the stomach. The findings that ghrelin is produced in mucosal endocrine cells of the stomach and intestine, and that ghrelin is measurable in the general circulation indicate its hormonal nature. A maximal expression of ghrelin in the stomach suggests that there is a gastrointestinal hypothalamic-pituitary axis that influences GH secretion, body growth and appetite that is responsive to nutritional and caloric intakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2002


  • Body weight
  • Fat deposition
  • Growth hormone
  • Hypothalamus
  • Nutrition
  • Orexigenic
  • Peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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