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Vol. 51. Núm. 8.
Páginas 464-472 (Octubre 2004)
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Vol. 51. Núm. 8.
Páginas 464-472 (Octubre 2004)
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Ghrelina: de la secreción de hormona de crecimiento a la regulación del equilibrio energético
Ghrelin: From Growth Hormone Secretion To Energy Balance Regulation
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O. Giméez
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acaixas@cspt.es

Correspondencia: Dra. O. Giménez Palop. Taulí, s/n. 08208 Sabadell. Barcelona. España.
, A. Caixàs
Unitat de Diabetis, Endocrinologia i Nutrició. Hospital de Sabadell. Consorci Hospitalari Parc Taulí. Sabadell. Barcelona. España
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Ghrelin is a recently discovered peptide hormone with 28 amino acids. This hormone is mainly secreted by the stomach and to a lesser extent by the gut, pancreas, kidney, placenta, hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It is the first natural acylated peptide; it contains an n-octanoyl group at serine-3, which is essential for crossing the hematoencephalic barrier and performing its biological activity. Nevertheless 75% of circulating ghrelin is in the non-acylated form.

Among the multiple functions of ghrelin that have been identified to date, by far the most important are its growth hormonereleasing activity and its role in the regulation of energy balance. Ghrelin secretion has a circadian rhythm with an increase before each meal and a reduction after food intake. This preprandial increase may play a role in prompting food intake. This hormone is one of the most powerful orexigens acting on the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. In rats ghrelin promotes weight gain by increasing adiposity and reducing fat utilization. Ghrelin levels are increased in states of negative energy balance such as fasting and anorexia nervosa and are decreased in positive states such as obesity. Therefore, together with leptin and insulin, this hormone belongs to the set of peripheral signs that informs the brain about the status of energy stores and contributes to long-term weight regulation.

Key words:
Ghrelin
Nutrition
Obesity
Growth hormone
Growth hormone synthetic secretagogues
Energy balance
Palabras clave:
Ghrelina
Nutrición
Obesidad
Hormona de crecimiento (GH)
Secretagogos sintéticos de GH
Equilibrio energético

La ghrelina es una hormona peptídica de 28 aminoácidos, recientemente descubierta, secretada en su mayor parte por el estómago y en menor proporción por el intestino, el páncreas, el riñón, la placenta, el hipotálamo y la hipófisis. Se trata del primer péptido natural acilado; tiene un grupo n-octanoil en la serina 3, que es esencial para su bioactividad, ya que le permite cruzar la barrera hematoencefálica. No obstante, el 75% de la ghrelina circula en forma no acilada.

De entre sus múltiples funciones hasta ahora conocidas destacan su actividad secretagoga de hormona de crecimiento (GH) y su papel en la regulación del equilibrio energético. La secreción de ghrelina sigue un ritmo circadiano; muestra un pico antes de cada comida y presenta una disminución de las concentraciones tras la ingesta. A este incremento preprandial se le ha atribuido un papel como señal para iniciar la ingesta. Es uno de los más potentes orexígenos conocidos y actúa en el núcleo arcuato del hipotálamo. En ratas provoca un aumento de peso a expensas de un incremento de la adiposidad y una reducción de la utilización de las grasas. Se encuentra elevada en situaciones de equilibrio energético negativo, como el ayuno o la anorexia nerviosa y disminuida en situaciones de equilibrio energético positivo, como la obesidad. Forma parte, por tanto, junto con la leptina y la insulina, del conjunto de señales periféricas que comunica el estatus de las reservas de energía al cerebro y contribuye a la regulación del peso a largo plazo.

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