The role of ghrelin in patients with functional dyspepsia and its potential clinical relevance (Review)

Takakazu Yagi, Akihiro Asakawa, Hirotaka Ueda, Shouichi Miyawaki, Akio Inui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID). According to the Rome 111 consensus, FD is divided into 2 subgroups: epigastric pain syndrome (EPS) and postprandial distress syndrome (PDS). Although multiple mechanisms of FD pathogenesis have been suggested, its underlying etiology and pharmacological therapy remain unclear. Ghrelin is a gut-derived peptide found in the stomach. It plays a role in the regulation of gastric motility and appetite. The ghrelin gene encodes 3 molecular forms, acyl ghrelin, desacyl ghrelin and obestatin. Acyl ghrelin acts as an endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptor; furthermore, it is orexigenic, with effects on food intake, energy homeostasis and gastrointestinal motility. Des-acyl ghrelin exerts an opposite effect to acyl ghrelin. Obestatin exerts an inhibitory effect on the motor activity of the antrum and duodenum in fed animals. These peptides exert differential effects on gut motility and food intake. The therapeutic potential of ghrelin has attracted attention due to its varied bioactivities. Certain studies have shown that total ghrelin levels are significantly lower in patients with FD compared with healthy volunteers and that the acyl ghrelin levels of patients with FD are higher compared with healthy volunteers. However, a recent study demonstrated that acyl ghrelin levels in patients with PDS were lower compared with healthy volunteers; the association between FD and other ghrelin family gene products also remains unclear. Although certain studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of acyl ghrelin administration and its agonist in patients with FD, only a few clinical reports exist. Further studies are required in order to examine the effects of ghrelin on FD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of molecular medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acyl ghrelin
  • Des-acyl ghrelin
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Obestatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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