The neuroendocrine hormone ghrelin is an octanoylated 28-residue peptide that exerts numerous physiological functions. Ghrelin exerts its effects on the body mainly through a highly conserved G protein-coupled receptor known as the growth hormone secretagagogue receptor subtype 1a (GHS-R1a). Ghrelin and GSH-R1a are widely expressed in both peripheral and central tissues/organs, and ghrelin signaling plays a critical role in maintaining energy balance and neuronal health. The multiple orexigenic effects of ghrelin and its receptor have been studied in great detail, and GHS-R1a-mediated ghrelin signaling has long been a promising target for the treatment of metabolic disorders, such as obesity. In addition to its well-characterized metabolic effects, there is also mounting evidence that ghrelin-mediated GHS-R1a signaling exerts neuroprotective effects on the brain. In this review, we will summarize some of the effects of ghrelin-mediated GSH-R1a signaling on peripheral energy balance and cognitive function. We will also discuss the potential pharmacotherapeutic role of GSH-R1a-mediated ghrelin signaling for the treatment of complex neuroendocrine disorders.
Keywords: Cognitive function, energy balance, ghrelin, growth hormone secretagagogue receptor, memory, metabolic disorders, neuroprotection, obesity
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