Ghrelin: Expression and Functions in the Central Nervous System

Irina Stoyanova

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    Ghrelin is a gastric peptide hormone and neurotransmitter, ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R1). The hypothalamus was identified as the main source of ghrelin in the CNS, therefore the effects of the peptide have been mainly related to this part of the brain; numerous studies over the past decade demonstrate its importance in food intake, body-weight regulation and glucose homeostasis. Data about the existence of extrahypothalamic ghrelinergic neurons are still controversial, however the distribution of GHS-R1 outside the hypothalamus indicates that ghrelin also has an important role in the regulation of many other processes. The spectrum of functions and biological effects of ghrelin on neurons is remarkably wide and complex. It varies from modulation of the membrane excitability, to control of neurotransmitter release, neuronal gene expression, neuronal survival, proliferation and differentiation. Ghrelin and its effects have been described not only in situ in different parts of the brain, but also in vitro. It has a stimulating effect on the electrical network activity, and dissociated cortical neurons express ghrelin immunorectivity since the earliest stage of culturing. As ghrelin is present in the majority of cultured neurons during the first week in vitro, when the neuronal differentiation and network formation take place, it may also influence early synaptic formation and cell-to-cell interactions, which are both very important for network functions such as learning and memory. This chapter gives an overview on the expression, mechanisms of activity and role of ghrelin in development of brain and neuronal networks.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationGhrelin: Production, Action Mechanisms and Physiological Effects
    EditorsH. Yamada, K. Takahashi
    Place of PublicationUSA
    PublisherNova Science
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Print)978-1-61942-400-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Publication series

    PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc


    • IR-82633
    • METIS-293159
    • Ghrelin
    • BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
    • central nervous system
    • dissociated cortical cultures
    • Development
    • Neuronal networks
    • EWI-21002

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