This review evaluated published data regarding the effects of ghrelin on GI motility using the PubMed database for English articles from 1999 to September 2009. Our strategy was to combine all available information from previous literature, in order to provide a complete structured review on the prokinetic properties of exogenous ghrelin and its potential use for treatment of various GI dysmotility ailments. We classified the literature into two major groups, depending on whether studies were done in health or in disease. We sub-classified the studies into stomach, small intestinal and colon studies, and broke them down further into studies done in vitro, in vivo (animals) and in humans. Further more, the reviewed studies were presented in a chronological order to guide the readers across the scientific advances in the field. The review shows evidences that ghrelin and its (receptor) agonists possess a strong prokinetic potential to serve in the treatment of diabetic, neurogenic or idiopathic gastroparesis and possibly, chemotherapy-associated dyspepsia, postoperative, septic or post-burn ileus, opiate-induced bowel dysfunction and chronic idiopathic constipation. Further research is necessary to close the gap in knowledge about the effect of ghrelin on the human intestines in health and disease.
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