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Ghrelin and Motilin in the Gastrointestinal System

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. 31 ]


Chih-Yen Chen and Chang-Youh Tsai   Pages 4755 - 4765 ( 11 )


Human ghrelin and human motilin, belonging to the ghrelin/motilin-related peptide family, share 36% amino acid sequence identity, while the human ghrelin receptor exhibits a remarkable 50% overall identity with the human motilin receptor. In addition to their structural resemblance, ghrelin and motilin are the only two mammalian hormones known to decrease in the postprandial period. Ghrelin and motilin participate in initiating the migrating motor complex in the stomach, and stimulate gastrointestinal motility, accelerate gastric emptying, and induce “gastric hunger”. In addition to modulating the release of growth hormone and gut motility, ghrelin plays a crucial role in the secretion and protection of the stomach and colon. Ghrelin mimetics and motilin agonists are currently being developed to reverse gastrointestinal hypomotility disorders. With additional appetite-enhancing, adiposity-promoting, and anti-inflammatory effects, ghrelin and rikkunshito (a traditional Japanese herb enhancing acyl ghrelin signaling) are superior to motilin in the treatment of cancerrelated anorexia and cachexia, post-chemotherapy symptoms, rheumatological diseases, age-related frailty, as well as post-operative, septic, and post-burn gut ileus.


Adiposity, anorexia, appetite, cachexia, gastrointestinal, ghrelin, ileus, inflammation, motilin, motility.


Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201, Section 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei 112, Taiwan.

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