Ghrelin as a neuroprotective and palliative agent in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(38):6773-90. doi: 10.2174/13816128113199990411.


Ghrelin is a gastric hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion and food intake to regulate energy homeostasis and body weight by binding to its receptor, GH secretagogue receptor (GHSR1a), which is most highly expressed in the pituitary and hypothalamus. Nowadays there is considerable evidence showing that the GHSR1a is also expressed in numerous extra-hypothalamic neuronal populations and the physiological role of ghrelin is by far wider than considered before including learning and memory, anxiety, depression and neuroprotection. The present review attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of the role of ghrelin in the central nervous system and to highlight recent findings showing its potential as an innovative therapeutic agent in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Ghrelin / physiology
  • Ghrelin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Palliative Care
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*


  • Ghrelin
  • Neuroprotective Agents