Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 611–616

Ghrelin and leptin pathophysiology in chronic kidney disease


DOI: 10.1007/s00467-012-2380-9

Cite this article as:
Gunta, S.S. & Mak, R.H. Pediatr Nephrol (2013) 28: 611. doi:10.1007/s00467-012-2380-9


Ghrelin is an orexigenic hormone with additional effects on the regulation of inflammation and the cardiovascular system. It may play an important role in the pathogenesis of cachexia/protein-energy wasting (PEW), inflammation and cardiovascular complications in chronic kidney disease (CKD). There are three circulating gene products of ghrelin, namely, acyl ghrelin, des-acyl ghrelin and obestatin, each with individual distinct functions. Perturbations of these circulating ghrelin proteins impact the overall milieu of CKD. Leptin is an anorexigenic hormone which is secreted from the adipocytes and interacts with ghrelin and other appetite-regulating hormones. Leptin also plays a role in regulating inflammation and the cardiovascular system. Indeed, ghrelin and leptin may play yin-and-yang roles in CKD pathophysiology. Clinical trials involving the use of the mimetics or antagonists of these hormones are limited to short-term phase I/II studies. Further understanding of their interactions in CKD pathophysiology is needed for potential large-scale clinical trials, which may impact the quality of life and survival of patients with CKD.


GhrelinLeptinChronic kidney diseaseCachexiaInflammationCardiovascularMortality

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© IPNA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pediatric NephrologyUniversity of California San Diego–Rady Children’s HospitalSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric NephrologyUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA