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.

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Keywords Diabetes, Ghrelin, Metabolism, Obesity
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Journal Peptides
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