Ghrelin and Neurodegenerative Disorders-a Review

Limin Shi, Xixun Du, Hong Jiang, Junxia Xie
Molecular Neurobiology 2017, 54 (2): 1144-1155
Ghrelin, the endogenous ligand of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a), is a gut-derived, orexigenic peptide hormone that primarily regulates growth hormone secretion, food intake, and energy homeostasis. With the wide expression of GHS-R1a in extra-hypothalamic regions, the physiological role of ghrelin is more extensive than solely its involvement in metabolic function. Ghrelin has been shown to be involved in numerous higher brain functions, such as memory, reward, mood, and sleep. Some of these functions are disrupted in neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Huntington's disease (HD). This link between ghrelin and these neurodegenerative diseases is supported by numerous studies. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the most recent evidence of the novel neuromodulatory role of ghrelin in PD, AD, and HD. Moreover, the changes in circulating and/or central ghrelin levels that are associated with disease progression are also postulated to be a biomarker for clinical diagnosis and therapy.

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