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Acylated and unacylated ghrelin administration to blunt muscle wasting

Reano, Simone; Graziani, Andrea; Filigheddu, Nicoletta

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: May 2014 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 236–240
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000049
TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH IN WASTING DISEASES: Edited by Vickie E. Baracos, Claude Pichard and Didier Attaix

Purpose of review Muscle wasting is a comorbidity often associated with a wide range of disorders that severely affects patient prognosis and quality of life. Ghrelin, through its receptor GHSR-1a, stimulates appetite and growth hormone (GH) release. Several studies indicate that ghrelin administration is a valid treatment for cachexia because it improves muscle mass and function, likely by restoring a positive energy balance.

Recent findings In addition to its GHSR-1a-mediated effects on muscle mass, ghrelin acts directly on skeletal muscle, wherein it exerts a protective activity against muscle wasting. This direct activity is independent of GHSR-1a and is shared by the unacylated form of ghrelin, which does not bind GHSR-1a and is devoid of the effects on appetite and GH release.

Summary Both the acylated and unacylated forms of ghrelin might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of skeletal muscle wasting.

Department of Translational Medicine, Università del Piemonte Orientale ‘A. Avogadro’, Novara, Italy

Correspondence to Nicoletta Filigheddu, Department of Translational Medicine, Università del Piemonte Orientale ‘A. Avogadro’, Via Solaroli 17, 28100 Novara, Italy. Tel: +39 0321660529; e-mail:

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