Ghrelin expression and actions: A novel peptide for an old cell type of the diffuse endocrine system

Guido Rindi, Antonio Torsello, Vittorio Locatelli, Enrico Solcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ghrelin is a gastric peptide involved in food intake control and growth hormone release. Its cell localization has been defined in distinct ghrelin cells of the gastric mucosa in humans and other mammals. Ghrelin production was also described in a number of other sites of the diffuse endocrine system, including the pituitary, thyroid, lung, pancreas, adrenal gland, and intestine. In addition, ghrelin cells were identified early during fetal life and in the placenta and gonads. Finally, endocrine growths and tumors of the diffuse endocrine system may present ghrelin-producing cells, and in a few cases high levels of circulating ghrelin were reported. Besides its well-defined orexigenic role, ghrelin is likely to exert a local paracrine role similar to other brain-gut axis hormones. This review aims to summarize recent data on ghrelin cell distribution in the diffuse endocrine system and discuss local and general ghrelin function during development, adulthood, and endocrine tumor development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1016
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Diffuse endocrine system
  • Electron microscopy
  • Ghrelin
  • Growth hormone secretagogue
  • P/D
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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