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Ghrelin and the heart

Tokudome, Takeshi, Otani, Kentaro, Miyazato, Mikiya, Kangawa, Kenji
Peptides 2019 v.111 pp. 42-46
animal models, arrhythmia, autonomic nervous system, body composition, body weight, brain, cardiac output, energy balance, ghrelin, ghrelin receptors, glucose, heart, heart failure, hypertension, hypoxia, ligands, lipid metabolism, mice, monocrotaline, muscles, myocardial infarction, patients, rats, respiratory tract diseases, stomach, survival rate, therapeutics, weight control
Ghrelin, a growth hormone–releasing peptide that was first discovered in the stomach of rats in 1999, is an endogenous ligand of growth hormone secretagogue receptor. Ghrelin exerts its potent growth hormone–releasing and orexigenic activities by binding to specific receptors in the brain. Subsequent studies showed that ghrelin participates in the regulation of diverse processes, including energy balance, body weight maintenance, and glucose and fat metabolism, and demonstrated that ghrelin is beneficial for treatment of cardiac diseases. In animal models of chronic heart failure, administration of ghrelin improves cardiac function and remodeling, and these findings were recapitulated in human patients with heart failure. Also in animal models, ghrelin administration effectively diminishes pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline or chronic hypoxia. In addition, repeated administration of ghrelin to cachectic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients has positive effects on body composition, including amelioration of muscle wasting, improvement of functional capacity, and sympathetic activity. Moreover, administration of ghrelin early after myocardial infarction decreases the frequency of fatal arrhythmia and improved the survival rate. In ghrelin-deficient mice, both exogenous and endogenous ghrelin protects against fatal arrhythmia and promotes remodeling after myocardial infarction. Although the mechanisms underlying the effects of ghrelin on the cardiovascular system have not been fully elucidated, some evidence suggests that its beneficial effects are mediated through both direct actions on cardiovascular cells and regulation of autonomic nervous system activity. Therefore, ghrelin is a promising novel therapeutic agent for cardiac disease.