Ghrelin is an orexigenic hormone secreted from endocrine cells in the stomach and other tissues. Acylation of ghrelin is essential for appetite regulation. Vigorous exercise induces appetite suppression, but this does not appear to be related to suppressed concentrations of total ghrelin. This study examined the effect of exercise and feeding on plasma acylated ghrelin and appetite. Nine male subjects aged 19-25 yr participated in two, 9-h trials (exercise and control) in a random crossover design. Trials began at 0800 in the morning after an overnight fast. In the exercise trial, subjects ran for 60 min at 72% of maximum oxygen uptake between 0800 and 0900. After this, they rested for 8 h and consumed a test meal at 1100. In the control trial, subjects rested for 9 h and consumed a test meal at 1100. Area under the curve values for plasma acylated ghrelin concentration (assessed from venous blood samples) were lower over the first 3 h and the full 9 h of the exercise trial compared with the control trial: 317+/-135 vs. 510+/-186 pg.ml(-1).3 h and 917+/-342 vs. 1,401+/-521 pg.ml(-1).9 h (means+/-SE) respectively (P<0.05). Area under the curve values for hunger (assessed using a visual scale) were lower over the first 3 h of the exercise trial compared with the control trial (P=0.013). These findings demonstrate that plasma acylated ghrelin concentration and hunger are suppressed during running.