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Ghrelin increases food intake in obese as well as lean subjects



To investigate whether effects on food intake are seen in obese subjects receiving exogenous administration of ghrelin.


Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of intravenous ghrelin at doses 1 pmol/kg/min and 5 pmol/kg/min.


In all, 12 healthy lean subjects (mean body mass index (BMI) 20.5±0.17 kg/m2) and 12 healthy overweight and obese subjects (mean BMI 31.9±1.02 kg/m2).


Food intake, appetite and palatability of food, ghrelin and other obesity-related hormones, growth hormone.


Low-dose infusion of ghrelin increased ad libitum energy intake at a buffet meal in the obese group only (mean increase 36.6±9.4%, P<0.01.) High-dose ghrelin infusion increased energy intake in both groups (mean increase 20.1±10.6% in the lean and 70.1±15.5% in the obese, P<0.01 in both cases.) Ghrelin infusion increased palatability of food in the obese group.


Ghrelin increases food intake in obese as well as lean subjects. Obese people are sensitive to the appetite-stimulating effects of ghrelin and inhibition of circulating ghrelin may be a useful therapeutic target in the treatment of obesity.

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We Dr M Donaldson and Mr JH Meek for growth hormone assays, Professor M Allison for peptide testing, and the Sir John McMichael Centre for providing the facility for studies with human volunteers. MD, AW and AP are funded by Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowships, MP is funded by a grant from the BBSRC. This work is supported by a programme grant from the Wellcome Trust.

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Correspondence to S R Bloom.

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Druce, M., Wren, A., Park, A. et al. Ghrelin increases food intake in obese as well as lean subjects. Int J Obes 29, 1130–1136 (2005).

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  • appetite
  • ghrelin
  • food intake
  • growth hormone secretagogues

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