The role of ghrelin and ghrelin analogues in wasting disease

Mayra M Kamiji, Akio Inui
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2008, 11 (4): 443-51

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to summarize recent studies that investigated the role of ghrelin and ghrelin analogs in wasting conditions.

RECENT FINDINGS: Numerous studies have demonstrated potential beneficial effects exerted by ghrelin in a number of diseases associated with wasting. Besides ghrelin's orexigenic effect, anabolic as well as anti-inflammatory activity mediated by ghrelin have been investigated in wasting conditions such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, malabsorptive diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anorexia nervosa, renal failure, liver failure, and chronic heart failure. Encouraging results have been obtained from experimental studies and a few clinical trials using subcutaneous administration of ghrelin and ghrelin agonists in cachexia. In-vitro studies have shown ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin biological activities on proliferation of tumor cells and abnormal tissues.

SUMMARY: The recent studies support the possible positive effects of ghrelin in therapeutic approaches and adjunct treatment of a number of diseases associated with wasting. Utilization of agonists of the ghrelin receptor growth hormone secretagogue-1a is a promising approach for clinical use. Randomized and placebo-controlled studies, including large number of patients are further required.

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