What Does Ghrelin Do?

Ghrelin is a hormone well known for regulating energy balance. It is a fast-acting hormone that plays a role in hunger and meal initiation. There are, however, numerous other functions of this important hormone.

Some of the functions of ghrelin include:

  • Ghrelin is secreted in early fetal development and promotes lung growth.
  • Ghrelin is important for a process called neurotrophy, which refers to the brain’s ability to adapt to new environments and learn new processes. Studies suggest that ghrelin enters the hippocampus of the brain from the blood and alters the connections between nerves and cells to enhance learning and memory. Learning is most effective throughout the day and when the stomach is empty, which is when ghrelin levels are higher.
  • Ghrelin has been shown to play a role in preventing depression and anxiety. Mice deficient in ghrelin have also been shown to exhibit social avoidance as an effect.
  • Ghrelin also plays a role in sleep, with more hours of sleep achieved the lower the ghrelin level is.
  • Ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.
  • Ghrelin is one of the main hormones to stimulate hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals, a mechanism that has its roots in the hypothalamus. If the lateral hypothalamus is removed (as seen in animal studies), feeding becomes less frequent leading to severe weight loss and death. If the ventromedial hypothalamus is removed, feeding increases leading to weight gain and severe obesity.
  • Ghrelin and its receptors are also found in the heart and in the aorta.
  • Ghrelin has also been shown to inhibit insulin secretion in some studies.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2019, February 26). What Does Ghrelin Do?. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 19, 2019 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-Does-Ghrelin-Do.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What Does Ghrelin Do?". News-Medical. 19 September 2019. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-Does-Ghrelin-Do.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What Does Ghrelin Do?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-Does-Ghrelin-Do.aspx. (accessed September 19, 2019).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2019. What Does Ghrelin Do?. News-Medical, viewed 19 September 2019, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-Does-Ghrelin-Do.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
Post
You might also like... ×
Weight loss success associated with brain areas involved in self-control