Ghrelin increases food intake in obese as well as lean subjects

Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Sep;29(9):1130-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803001.


Objective: To investigate whether effects on food intake are seen in obese subjects receiving exogenous administration of ghrelin.

Design: Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of intravenous ghrelin at doses 1 pmol/kg/min and 5 pmol/kg/min.

Subjects: In all, 12 healthy lean subjects (mean body mass index (BMI) 20.5+/-0.17 kg/m(2)) and 12 healthy overweight and obese subjects (mean BMI 31.9+/-1.02 kg/m(2)).

Measurements: Food intake, appetite and palatability of food, ghrelin and other obesity-related hormones, growth hormone.

Results: Low-dose infusion of ghrelin increased ad libitum energy intake at a buffet meal in the obese group only (mean increase 36.6+/-9.4%, P<0.01.) High-dose ghrelin infusion increased energy intake in both groups (mean increase 20.1+/-10.6% in the lean and 70.1+/-15.5% in the obese, P<0.01 in both cases.) Ghrelin infusion increased palatability of food in the obese group.

Conclusion: Ghrelin increases food intake in obese as well as lean subjects. Obese people are sensitive to the appetite-stimulating effects of ghrelin and inhibition of circulating ghrelin may be a useful therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Appetite Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Female
  • Ghrelin
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Peptide Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Peptide Hormones / blood
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology


  • Appetite Stimulants
  • Ghrelin
  • Leptin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Human Growth Hormone