Ghrelin plays an important physiological role in modulating GH secretion, insulin secretion and glucose metabolism. Ghrelin has direct effects on pancreatic islet function. Also, ghrelin is part of a mechanism that integrates the physiological response to fasting. However, pharmacologic studies indicate the important obesogenic/diabetogenic properties of ghrelin. This is very likely of physiological relevance, deriving from a requirement to protect against seasonal periods of food scarcity by building energy reserves, predominantly in the form of fat. Available data indicate the potential of ghrelin blockade as a means to prevent its diabetogenic effects. Several studies indicate a negative correlation between ghrelin levels and the incidence of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. However, it is unclear if low ghrelin levels are a risk factor or a compensatory response. Direct antagonism of the receptor does not always have the desired effects, however, since it can cause increased body weight gain. Pharmacological suppression of the ghrelin/des-acyl ghrelin ratio by treatment with des-acyl ghrelin may also be a viable alternative approach which appears to improve insulin sensitivity. A promising recently developed approach appears to be through the blockade of GOAT activity, although the longer term effects of this treatment remain to be investigated.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Diabetes, Ghrelin, Metabolism, Obesity
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2011.03.001, hdl.handle.net/1765/33605
Journal Peptides
Citation
Delhanty, P.J.D, & van der Lely, A-J. (2011). Ghrelin and glucose homeostasis. Peptides (Vol. 32, pp. 2309–2318). doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2011.03.001