Ghrelin and the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a) are important targets for disorders related to energy balance and metabolic regulation. Pharmacological control of ghrelin signaling is a promising avenue to address health issues involving appetite, weight gain, obesity, and related metabolic disorders, and may be an option for patients suffering from wasting conditions like cachexia. In this review, we summarize recent developments in the biochemistry of ghrelin and GHS-R1a signaling. These include unravelling the enzymatic transformations that generate active ghrelin and the discovery of multiple proteins that interact with ghrelin and GHS-R1a to regulate signaling. Furthermore, we propose that harnessing these processes will lead to highly selective treatments to address obesity, diabetes, and other metabolism-linked disorders.

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Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Department of Neuroscience

Abizaid, A, & Hougland, J.L. (James L.). (2019). Ghrelin Signaling: GOAT and GHS-R1a Take a LEAP in Complexity. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2019.09.006