Ghrelin and PYY in the regulation of energy balance and metabolism: lessons from mouse mutants

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 May;298(5):E909-19. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00191.2009. Epub 2010 Feb 23.


Effective control of body weight and energy homeostasis requires stringent regulation of caloric intake and energy expenditure. Gut-brain interactions comprise a central axis for the control of energy homeostasis by integrating the intake of nutrients with an effective utilization of ingested calories either by storage or by expenditure as cellular fuel. Ghrelin, a stomach-derived peptide, is the only known circulating orexigenic hormone. It is acylated with a medium-chain fatty acid by the enzyme ghrelin O-acetyltransferase (GOAT) and displays a broad range of activity, from central control of food intake to peripheral functions such as gastric emptying and insulin secretion. PYY, a peptide produced by L cells of the small intestine and rectum, has been shown to inhibit gut motility and is proposed to stimulate a powerful central satiety response. In recent years, pharmacological studies in animals and clinical studies in humans have contributed to our knowledge of principal ghrelin and PYY actions. However, valuable findings from studies using ghrelin-deficient mice, ghrelin receptor [growth hormone secretagogue receptor-1a (GHSR1a)]-deficient mice, double-knockout mice (for ghrelin and GHSR), and GOAT-deficient or -overexpressor mice, as well as mice deficient for PYY or neuropeptide Y receptors have allowed better definition of the actual physiological functions of ghrelin and PYY. This review summarizes findings from mutant mouse studies with emphasis on respective gene knockout and transgenic animals and describes how these studies contribute to the current understanding of how endogenous ghrelin and PYY as two major representatives of endocrine gut-brain communications may regulate energy and glucose homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Ghrelin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Peptide YY / metabolism*


  • Ghrelin
  • Peptide YY