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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 May;10(3):278-83.

Emerging results of anticatabolic therapy with ghrelin.

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  • 1Ghrelin Research Project, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Translational Research Center, Kyoto University Hospital, 54 Shogoin-Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan. akamizu@kuhp.kyoto-u.ac.jp



This review summarizes recent developments in research into anticatabolic therapies with ghrelin. Potential conditions in which ghrelin treatment may be useful include cachexia, anorexia and ageing. We highlight a number of intriguing basic topics related to the anticatabolic effects of ghrelin.


Repeated administration of ghrelin to patients with congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease improved appetite, body composition, muscle wasting and functional capacity in open-label pilot studies. An acute, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial of cancer patients with anorexia revealed marked increases in energy intake following treatment. The effects of ghrelin treatment in patients with anorexia nervosa are controversial. Basic research studies have extended our understanding of the upstream regulation of neuropeptide Y/agouti-related protein signalling and the central control of adipocyte metabolism. In addition, alterations in fat-free mass may play a role in ghrelin regulation.


A number of studies are currently evaluating the anticatabolic effects of ghrelin in the treatment of various diseases, including cachexia, anorexia and age-related disorders. These studies will hopefully lead to the development of novel clinical applications for ghrelin treatment. These studies have also facilitated a better understanding of the molecular basis of the anticatabolic effects of ghrelin.

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