Objectives: Ghrelin acts on a variety of central- and peripheral organs causing an orexigenic effect, conclusively followed by increased caloric intake. Recent studies have indicated that ghrelin's function as an orexigenic agent does not entirely reflect the full functional properties of the peptide. Specifically, ghrelin regulates stress-hormone synthesis and secretion therewith affecting the stress-axis. The role of stress in the development of obesity has been extensively studied. However, the orexigenic and underlying stress-regulatory effect of ghrelin has not yet been further considered in the development of stress-induced obesity. Methods: Therefore, this review aims to accentuate the potential of ghrelin as a factor in the pathological development of stress-induced obesity. Results: In this review we discuss (1) the ghrelin-mediated intracellular cascades and elucidate the overall bioactivation of the peptide, and (2) the mechanisms of ghrelin signalling and regulation within the central nervous system and the gastro-intestinal system. Discussion: These biological processes will be ultimately discussed in relation to the pathogenesis of stress-induced obesity.
- central nervous system
- gastro-intestinal tract