Ghrelin: Central Nervous System Sites of Action in Regulation of Energy Balance

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Fry, Mark
Ferguson, Alastair V.
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Ghrelin, a peptide hormone secreted by the stomach, has been shown to regulate energy homeostasis by modulating electrical activity of neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). Like many circulating satiety signals, ghrelin is a peptide hormone and is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier without a transport mechanism. In this review, we address the notion that the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus is the only site in the CNS that detects circulating ghrelin to trigger orexigenic responses. We consider the roles of a specialized group of CNS structures called the sensory circumventricular organs (CVOs), which are not protected by the blood-brain barrier. These areas include the subfornical organ and the area postrema and are already well known to be key areas for detection of other circulating hormones such as angiotensin II, cholecystokinin, and amylin. A growing body of evidence indicates a key role for the sensory CVOs in the regulation of energy homeostasis.
Mark Fry and Alastair V. Ferguson, “Ghrelin: Central Nervous System Sites of Action in Regulation of Energy Balance,” International Journal of Peptides, vol. 2010, Article ID 616757, 8 pages, 2010. doi:10.1155/2010/616757