Affiliation: Department of Physiology, School of Medicine-CIMUS, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria (IDIS), CIBER Fisiopatología de la obesidad y nutricion (CIBERobn), University of Santiago de Compostela, Av Barcelona s/n, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 15782.
The role of ghrelin in regulating metabolism and energy balance has been a subject of intense focus ever since its discovery. Ghrelin regulates energy balance in the short term by induction of appetite and in the longer term by increasing body weight and adiposity. It is the only known peripheral orexigenic hormone and one of the most potent endogenous orexigenic factors discovered to date. However, whilst extensively studied, the mechanism of ghrelin secretion is not well understood. A better understanding of the pathways controlling ghrelin secretion could be useful in the development of new therapeutic approaches to appetite-related disorders. Here, we discuss current knowledge of the processes that control ghrelin secretion, focusing on neural, chemical and hormonal stimuli. In addition, we share our view on the potential of targeting ghrelin for the treatment of eating disorders such as obesity, anorexia nervosa and cachexia.