Ghrelin and bone



Ghrelin is a gut-derived peptide hormone, first isolated from the stomach. Ghrelin was initially characterized as a growth hormone (GH) secretagogue, but it plays a more important role as a potent orexigen and modulator of whole-body energy homeostasis. Ghrelin itself is closely regulated by metabolic status. Bone remodeling constantly renews the skeleton in a highly energy-dependent fashion. Accordingly, bone metabolism is tightly coupled to energy metabolism through the integration of peripheral and central mechanisms, involving the sympathetic nervous system and factors such as leptin. Ghrelin has been shown to modulate osteoblast differentiation and function, both directly and perhaps also through regulation of the GH–insulin-like growth factor axis. However, recently it has also been shown that ghrelin interacts with leptin in modulating bone structure, constituting a new mechanism that couples bone metabolism with energy homeostasis. In this review, we discuss the role that ghrelin plays modulating bone cell function, and its integrative role in coupling bone metabolism with energy metabolism. © 2013 BioFactors, 40(1):41–48, 2014