Ghrelin and food reward

Omar Al Massadi, Ruben Nogueiras, Carlos Dieguez, Jean-Antoine Girault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Food intake is tightly regulated by homeostatic and reward mechanisms and the adequate function of both is necessary for the proper maintenance of energy balance. Ghrelin impacts on these two levels to induce feeding. In this review, we present the actions of ghrelin in food reward, including their dependence on other relevant modulators implicated in the motivational aspects of feeding, including dopamine, opioid peptides, and endocannabinoids. We also describe the interaction between brain areas involved in homeostatic regulation of feeding and the reward system, with a special emphasis on the role of arcuate nucleus melanocortins and lateral hypothalamus orexins in ghrelin function. Finally, we briefly discuss the actions of ghrelin in food reward in obesity. We propose that new insights into the mechanism of action of ghrelin in the rewarding and motivational control of food intake will help to understand food-related disorders including obesity and anorexia.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-03-12
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2015-CRG4-2602
Acknowledgements: Work in the laboratory of JAG is supported by Inserm, Sorbonne Université (formerly Université Pierre et Marie Curie, UPMC, Paris-6), and grants from ANR MALZ-2013, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research award (#OSR-2015-CRG4-2602), Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale and Labex Bio-Psy. Work in the laboratory of RN and CD is supported by grants from MINECO (CD BFU2017-87721 and RN: BFU2015-70664R); Xunta de Galicia (RN: 2015-CP080 and 2016-PG057), and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CIBER) de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn). CIBERobn is an initiative of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) of Spain which is supported by FEDER funds. O.A-M is funded by the ISCIII/SERGAS through a research contract “Sara Borrell” (CD14/00091). The figures were generated by using materials from Servier Medical Art (Servier) under consideration of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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