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  • The effects of ghrelin on inflammation and the immune system

    Article: Literature Review in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 340(1):44-58 · June 2011 with 314 reads 
    DOI: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.04.019 · Source: PubMed


    A number of hormones and metabolic mediators signal the brain of changes in the body's energy status and when an imbalance occurs; the brain coordinates the appropriate changes in energy intake and utilization via the control of appetite and food consumption. Under conditions of chronic inflammation and immune activation, there is often a significant loss of body mass and appetite suggesting the presence of shared ligands and signaling pathways mediating "crosstalk" between the immune and neuroendocrine systems. Ghrelin, the endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), is produced primarily by cells in the stomach and serves as a potent circulating orexigenic hormone controlling food intake, energy expenditure, adiposity and GH secretion. The functional roles of ghrelin and other growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) within the immune system and under states of inflammatory stress and injury are only now coming to light. A number of reports over the past decade have described ghrelin to be a potent anti-inflammatory mediator both in vitro and in vivo and a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and injury. Moreover, ghrelin has also been shown to promote lymphocyte development in the primary lymphoid organs (bone marrow and thymus) and to ablate age-associated thymic involution. In the current report, we review the literature supporting a role for ghrelin as an anti-inflammatory agent and immunoregulatory hormone/cytokine and its potential use in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and injury.