Document Type : Review Article
Biochemistry of Nutrition Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, International College, University of Chinese Academy of Science (IC-UCAS), Beijing, China
A kind of growth hormone secretagogue (GHS), ghrelin, was first isolated from the rat stomach and plays a major role in the activation of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a) resulting the release of growth hormone (GH). The preproghrelin gene is placed on chromosome 3, at locus 3p25 –2 in humans and constitutes five exons and three introns. Ghrelin is most plentifully expressed in particular cells in the oxyntic glands of the gastric epithelium, initially named X/A-like cells. Almost 60-70% of circulating ghrelin is secreted by the stomach. Plasma ghrelin concentration alters throughout the day. Ghrelin has been suggested to act as a meal initiator because of its appetite-stimulating influences in free feeding rats in short period. In addition to ghrelin’s function as a meal motivator, it seems to contribute in long-term energy balance and nutritional status. In addition, many studies have been carried out in order to investigate the effects of natural and medicinal plants and botanical extracts on appetite, food intake, energy hemostasis, and the level of related hormones including ghrelin. Due to the importance of ghrelin in nutritional and medical sciences, this review was performed to understand new aspects of this hormone’s function.