CNS Drugs

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 281–296

Role of Ghrelin in the Pathophysiology of Eating Disorders

Implications for Pharmacotherapy
  • Sebastian Cardona Cano
  • Myrte Merkestein
  • Karolina P. Skibicka
  • Suzanne L. Dickson
  • Roger A. H. Adan
Leading Article

DOI: 10.2165/11599890-000000000-00000

Cite this article as:
Cano, S.C., Merkestein, M., Skibicka, K.P. et al. CNS Drugs (2012) 26: 281. doi:10.2165/11599890-000000000-00000

Abstract

Ghrelin is the only known circulating orexigenic hormone. It increases food intake by interacting with hypothalamic and brainstem circuits involved in energy balance, as well as reward-related brain areas. A heightened gutbrain ghrelin axis is an emerging feature of certain eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and Prader-Willi syndrome. In common obesity, ghrelin levels are lowered, whereas post-meal ghrelin levels remain higher than in lean individuals. Agents that interfere with ghrelin signalling have therapeutic potential for eating disorders, including obesity. However, most of these drugs are only in the preclinical phase of development. Data obtained so far suggest that ghrelin agonists may have potential in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, while ghrelin antagonists seem promising for other eating disorders such as obesity and Prader-Willi syndrome. However, large clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of these drugs.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Cardona Cano
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Myrte Merkestein
    • 4
  • Karolina P. Skibicka
    • 5
  • Suzanne L. Dickson
    • 5
  • Roger A. H. Adan
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Utrecht Research Group Eating DisordersUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Parnassia Bavo Psychiatric InstituteThe HagueThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Rintveld Centre for Eating DisordersAltrecht Mental Health InstituteZeistThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of NeuroscienceUniversity Medical Center UtrechtCG UtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Institute of Neuroscience and PhysiologyThe Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden