Purpose of review: To understand the current trend of ghrelin genetic variations on the control of satiety, eating behaviours, obesity, and metabolic alterations, and its development over the last 18 months.
Recent findings: Several polymorphisms of the ghrelin gene, its receptor gene and ghrelin's acylating enzyme, ghrelin O-acyl transferase, have been identified and studied over the last decade in relation to control of satiety, obesity, eating behaviours, metabolic syndrome, glucose homeostasis, and type 2 diabetes. However, the effects described are either small or nonsignificant and often subjected to contradictory conclusions between studies. In the last 18 months, several of these areas of investigations have been revisited under more controlled conditions or have been subjected to meta-analysis.
Summary: The effects of ghrelin gene polymorphism, is a complex area of investigation, due to ghrelin's interplay with a host of various factors part of an integrative network. However, taken together, results suggest that there are no or nonsignificant effects of the common genetic variants. A better understanding of the network, probably by a systems biology type approach, will be necessary to assign the exact role played by gene polymorphism of the component of the ghrelin axis.