Minireview: ghrelin and the regulation of energy balance--a hypothalamic perspective

Endocrinology. 2001 Oct;142(10):4163-9. doi: 10.1210/endo.142.10.8490.


The recently discovered hormone, ghrelin, has been recognized as an important regulator of GH secretion and energy homeostasis. Orexigenic and adipogenic ghrelin is produced by the stomach, intestine, placenta, pituitary, and possibly in the hypothalamus. The concentration of circulating ghrelin, principally derived from the stomach, is influenced by acute and chronic changes in nutritional state. To date, most studies focused on the role of ghrelin in GH secretion or its function in complementing leptin action to prevent energy deficits. The potential significance of ghrelin in the etiology of obesity and cachexia as well as in the regulation of growth processes is the subject of ongoing discussions. A large quantity of information based on clinical trials and experimental studies with ghrelin and previously available synthetic ghrelin receptor agonists (GH secretagogues) must now be integrated with a rapidly increasing amount of data on the central regulation of metabolism and appetite. In this overview, we summarize recent findings and strategies on the integration of ghrelin into neuroendocrine networks that regulate energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Ghrelin
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Peptide Hormones*
  • Peptides / physiology*


  • Ghrelin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Peptides