The ghrelin O-acyltransferase-ghrelin system: A novel regulator of glucose metabolism

Kristy M. Heppner, Jenny Tong, Henriette Kirchner, Ralf Nass, Matthias H. Tschöp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Ghrelin, an orexigenic hormone secreted from the stomach, exists in the circulation in two isoforms: des-acyl and acyl ghrelin. Acylation by the enzyme ghrelin O-acyl-transferase (GOAT) enables ghrelin to activate the ghrelin receptor. This review discusses recent findings illustrating the role of acyl ghrelin, des-acyl ghrelin and GOAT in regulating glucose homeostasis. Recent Findings: Recent publications support a role of ghrelin in modulating glucose homeostasis. Novel cellular mechanisms have been proposed to explain these effects. Controversy on this topic continues to exist owing to inconsistent observations made in both rodents and humans. Many recent studies are uncovering a role of des-acyl ghrelin in glucose metabolism specifically in modulating insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake into adipocytes. A novel role of ghrelin acylation by the enzyme GOAT in regulating glucose metabolism during caloric deprivation has newly been discovered. Summary: Ghrelin plays a role in regulating glucose homeostasis through the modulation of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Acyl ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin appear to have opposing glucoregulatory effects and regulation of acylation by the enzyme GOAT appears to play a role in mediating glucose metabolism. Modulation of GOAT or ghrelin signaling may be a clinically relevant strategy to treat metabolic diseases such as type II diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Des-acyl ghrelin
  • ghrelin
  • ghrelin O-acyltransferase
  • glucose
  • insulin


Dive into the research topics of 'The ghrelin O-acyltransferase-ghrelin system: A novel regulator of glucose metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this