[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dopamine agonist resistance in prolactinoma is an infrequent phenomenon. Doses of cabergoline (CAB) of up to 2.0 mg/week are usually effective in controlling prolactin (PRL) secretion and reducing tumor size in prolactinomas. The clinical presentation, management, and outcome of patients that are not well controlled by such commonly used doses of CAB-resistant patients are poorly understood.
A multicenter retrospective study was designed to collect a large series of resistant prolactinoma patients, defined by uncontrolled hyperprolactinemia on CAB ≥2.0 mg weekly.
Ninety-two patients (50 F, 42 M) were analyzed. At diagnosis, most had macroprolactinomas (82.6%); males were significantly older than females (P=0.0003) and presented with a more aggressive disease. A genetic basis was identified in 12 patients. Thirty-six patients (39.1%) received only medical therapy, most underwent surgery (60.9%, including multiple interventions in 10.9%), and 14.1% received postoperative radiotherapy. Eight patients developed late CAB resistance (8.7%). The median maximal weekly dose of CAB (CAB(max/w)) was 3.5 mg (2.0-10.5). Despite a higher CAB(max/w) in patients treated with multimodal therapy (P=0.003 vs exclusive pharmacological treatment), a debulking effect of surgery was shown in 14 patients, with a higher rate of PRL control (P=0.006) and a significant reduction in CAB(max/w) (P=0.001) postoperatively. At last follow-up (median 88 months), PRL normalization and tumor disappearance were achieved in 28 and 19.9% of the patients respectively, with no significant sex-related difference observed in CAB(max/w) or disease control. Mortality was 4.8%, with four patients developing aggressive tumors (4.3%) and three a pituitary carcinoma (3.3%).
CAB-resistant prolactinomas remain a serious concern. Surgical debulking, newer therapeutic strategies, and early diagnosis of genetic forms could help to improve their outcome.
European Journal of Endocrinology 08/2012; 167(5):651-62. DOI:10.1530/EJE-12-0236 · 4.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context: Cushing's syndrome may remain unrecognized among patients referred for metabolic syndrome; thus, a proactive screening has been suggested in certain patient populations with features of the disorder. However, conflicting data have been reported on the prevalence of Cushing's syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes. Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence of unsuspected Cushing's syndrome among outpatients with type 2 diabetes. Design and Setting: This was a cross-sectional prospective study in 24 diabetes clinics across Italy. Patients: Between June 2006 and April 2008, 813 patients with known type 2 diabetes without clinically overt hypercortisolism were evaluated. Follow-up of the study was closed in September 2010. Patients were not selected for characteristics conferring a higher pretest probability of hypercortisolism. Patients underwent a first screening step with the 1-mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test. Results: Forty patients failed to suppress serum cortisol less than 5.0 μg/dl (138 nmol/liter) and underwent a standard 2-d, 2-mg dexamethasone suppression test, after which six patients (0.6% of the overall series) failed to suppress cortisol less than 1.8 μg/dl (50 nmol/liter), receiving a definitive diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome that was adrenal dependent in five patients. Four patients were cured, being able to discontinue, or reduce, the glucose-lowering agents. Conclusions: The present data do not support widespread screening of patients with type 2 diabetes for Cushing's syndrome; however, the disorder is less rare than previously thought when considering epidemiology of type 2 diabetes. Our results support a case-finding approach in patients with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension despite appropriate treatment.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 07/2012; 97(10):3467-75. DOI:10.1210/jc.2012-1323 · 6.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The long-term follow-up (±Mg4 years) of clinical, hormonal and radiological aspects in 22‘cured’prolactinoma patients after adenomectomy was studied. Dynamic secretion of PRL and TSH was also evaluated, in order to identify the persistence of any underlying abnormality of hypothalamic pituitary control and to predict relapses. A relapse into hyperprolactinaemia was shown in 36% of patients 5-90 months (mean 46) after surgery. This was accompanied by reappearance of clinical symptoms but not by the radiological demonstration of the adenoma in any patients. A significant PRL rise after domperidone, a dopaminergic antagonist drug, was shown in cured patients after surgery (mean±SEM peak, 2977±645 mU/1) but this was markedly lower than that observed in control subjects (5732±440 mU/1). In fact, normal PRL increments were shown in only 6/16 (37%) patients. TSH hyper-responsiveness to domperidone normalized in only 46% of patients. Similar PRL responses to those obtained with domperidone were shown when a TRH test was given. A relapse into hyperprolactinaemia was observed in six of ten (60%) non-responders to domperidone and in four of seven (57%) non-responders to TRH, whereas six normal responders to domperidone and TRH had not relapsed at that time. Plasma PRL levels during pregnancy showed increments lower than those observed in normal pregnant women only in domperidone and TRH non-responder patients. These results indicate that a relapse into hyperprolactinaemia and a blunted PRL rise during pregnancy were present only in patients with persistently reduced PRL response to dynamic tests.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE Dopamine agonists have a well established place in the treatment of hyperprolactinaemic disorders but their use is associated with a high incidence of adverse effects. We have investigated the biochemical efficacy and side-effect profile of a range of doses of the novel, long-acting dopamine agonist, cabergoline, in suppressing prolactin (PRL) in hyperprolactinaemic women.
DESIGN Multicentre, prospective, randomized, placebo controlled and double blind.
PATIENTS One hundred and eighty-eight women with hyperprolactinaemia secondary to microprolactinoma (n= 113), idiopathic disease (n= 67), empty sella syndrome (n= 7) or following failed surgery for a macroprolactinoma (n= 1).
MEASUREMENTS Weekly assessment of adverse symptoms, blood pressure and pulse, serum PRL, blood count, liver and renal function.
RESULTS Patients received either placebo (n= 20) or cabergoline 0.125 (n= 43), 0.5 (n= 42), 0 75 (n= 42) or 10 mg (n= 41) twice weekly for 4 weeks. The five treatment groups were comparable in age (mean 31.8, range 16– 46 years), diagnosis, previous therapy, and pretreatment serum PRL. PRL was suppressed to below half the pretreatment level in 5,60,90,95 and 98% and normalized in 0, 30, 74, 74 and 95% of patients taking placebo or cabergoline 0.125, 0.5, 0.75 or 1.0 mg twice weekly respectively (Armitage's test, χ2= 39.3, P < 0.01). Cabergoline therapy (all doses) restored menses in 82% of the amenorrhoeic women not previously treated with dopamine agonists. Adverse events were recorded in 45% of patients in the placebo group and in 44, 50, 50 and 58% of those taking 0.125, 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 mg cabergoline twice weekly (Armitage's test, P < 0.05). Over 95% of reported symptoms were relatively trivial, most frequently transient nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue and constipation. More severe adverse events, interfering significantly with the patients’ lifestyle, occurred in 13 (7.7%) patients taking cabergoline; treatment withdrawal was necessary in only one case. No adverse effects were detected on blood pressure or haematological or biochemical parameters.
CONCLUSIONS We have shown a linear dose-response relationship for cabergoline in the treatment of hyperprolactinaemia in the range 0.125– 1.0 mg twice weekly, with normalization of PRL in up to 95% of cases and acceptable tolerability throughout the dose range.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An association between germline aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene mutations and pituitary adenomas was recently shown.
The objective of the study was to assess the frequency of AIP gene mutations in a large cohort of patients with familial isolated pituitary adenoma (FIPA).
This was a multicenter, international, collaborative study.
The study was conducted in 34 university endocrinology and genetics departments in nine countries.
Affected members from each FIPA family were studied. Relatives of patients with AIP mutations underwent AIP sequence analysis.
Presence/absence and description of AIP gene mutations were the main outcome measures.
There was no intervention.
Seventy-three FIPA families were identified, with 156 patients with pituitary adenomas; the FIPA cohort was evenly divided between families with homogeneous and heterogeneous tumor expression. Eleven FIPA families had 10 germline AIP mutations. Nine mutations, R16H, G47_R54del, Q142X, E174frameshift, Q217X, Q239X, K241E, R271W, and Q285frameshift, have not been described previously. Tumors were significantly larger (P = 0.0005) and diagnosed at a younger age (P = 0.0006) in AIP mutation-positive vs. mutation-negative subjects. Somatotropinomas predominated among FIPA families with AIP mutations, but mixed GH/prolactin-secreting tumors, prolactinomas, and nonsecreting adenomas were also noted. Approximately 85% of the FIPA cohort and 50% of those with familial somatotropinomas were negative for AIP mutations.
AIP mutations, of which nine new mutations have been described here, occur in approximately 15% of FIPA families. Although pituitary tumors occurring in association with AIP mutations are predominantly somatotropinomas, other tumor types are also seen. Further study of the impact of AIP mutations on protein expression and activity is necessary to elucidate their role in pituitary tumorigenesis in FIPA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Familial pituitary adenomas occur rarely in the absence of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) and Carney complex (CNC).
Our objective was to characterize the clinical and genealogical features of non-MEN1/CNC familial isolated pituitary adenomas (FIPA).
We conducted a retrospective study of clinical and genealogical characteristics of FIPA cases and performed a comparison with a sporadic population at 22 university hospitals in Belgium, Italy, France, and The Netherlands.
Sixty-four FIPA families including 138 affected individuals were identified [55 prolactinomas, 47 somatotropinomas, 28 nonsecreting adenomas (NS), and eight ACTH-secreting tumors]. Cases were MEN1/PRKAR1A-mutation negative. First-degree relationships predominated (75.6%) among affected individuals. A single tumor phenotype occurred in 30 families (homogeneous), and heterogeneous phenotypes occurred in 34 families. FIPA cases were younger at diagnosis than sporadic cases (P = 0.015); tumors were diagnosed earlier in the first vs. the second generation of multigenerational families. Macroadenomas were more frequent in heterogeneous vs. homogeneous FIPA families (P = 0.036). Prolactinomas from heterogeneous families were larger and had more frequent suprasellar extension (P = 0.004) than sporadic cases. Somatotropinomas occurred as isolated familial somatotropinoma cases and within heterogeneous FIPA families; isolated familial somatotropinoma cases represented 18% of FIPA cases and were younger at diagnosis than patients with sporadic somatotropinomas. Familial NS cases were younger at diagnosis (P = 0.03) and had more frequently invasive tumors (P = 0.024) than sporadic cases.
Homogeneous and heterogeneous expression of prolactinomas, somatotropinomas, NS, and Cushing's disease can occur within families in the absence of MEN1/CNC. FIPA and sporadic cases have differing clinical characteristics. FIPA may represent a novel endocrine neoplasia classification that requires further genetic characterization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatostatin (SST) analogues play an important role in the medical management of somatotroph pituitary adenomas and new agonists have the potential to be effective in a wider group of pituitary and other tumours. The anti-proliferative effect of SST occurs through multiple mechanisms, one of which is cell-cycle arrest, where p27, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is an important regulator. We hypothesised that SST may upregulate p27 protein levels and downregulate the MAP kinase pathway in these tumours.
Human pituitary adenoma cells and rat pituitary cell line (GH3) were cultured and treated in vitro with octreotide and the broad-spectrum SST agonist SOM230 (pasireotide). Immunoblotting for p27 and phospho-ERK (pERK) was performed and proliferation assessed by [3H]-thymidine incorporation. Histological samples from acromegalic patients treated with octreotide before surgery were immunostained for p27 and compared to samples from untreated patients matched for sex, age, tumour size, extension and invasiveness.
We detected upregulation of p27 protein levels with SST analogue treatment in vitro in human pituitary adenoma samples. pERK1/2 was inhibited by SST analogues in both the human samples and GH3 cells. SST and its analogues inhibited the proliferation of GH3 cells. p27 immunostaining was stronger in samples from patients with longer preoperative octreotide treatment (more than 6 months) than in samples from patients with shorter treatment periods.
This study demonstrates that SST-mediated growth inhibition is associated with the downregulation of pERK and upregulation of p27. More potent and broader-spectrum SST analogues are likely to play an increasing role in the treatment of tumours, where the MAP kinase pathway is overactivated.
European Journal of Endocrinology 09/2006; 155(2):371-9. DOI:10.1530/eje.1.02213 · 4.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data on bone mineral density (BMD) in acromegaly are conflicting as most previous studies collectively evaluated eugonadal and hypogonadal patients of both sexes, with or without active disease. We have evaluated BMD in 152 acromegalic patients of both sexes with varying disease activity and gonadal status.
We studied 152 acromegalic patients (99 women aged 26-72 years, and 53 men aged 21-75 years), 107 with active and 45 with controlled disease. Eighty-five patients had normal gonadal status and 67 were hypogonadal.
In all patients we measured serum GH levels by immunoenzimometric assay, and serum IGF-I levels by radioimmunoassay. BMD was assessed at spine L2-L4 (LS) and at femoral neck (FN) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry; results are expressed as Z-values.
We evaluated the effect of GH excess on bone at different sites in relation to gonadal status, disease activity and gender. At LS, in respect to the reference population, BMD (mean +/- SE) values were higher in eugonadal patients (active: 0.71 +/- 0.29, P < 0.02; controlled: 0.65 +/- 0.28, P < 0.05) and lower in hypogonadal ones (active: -0.64 +/- 0.35, 0.1 < P < 0.05; controlled: -1.05 +/- 0.36, P < 0.01), regardless of disease activity. On the contrary, at FN, BMD was higher than in the reference population, both in eugonadal (1.01 +/- 0.22, P < 0.001) and hypogonadal (0.63 +/- 0.17, P < 0.001) patients only in subjects with active disease, but not in those in which the disease was controlled (eugonadal: 0.31 +/- 0.23, P = ns; hypogonadal 0.04 +/- 0.28, P = ns). We did not observe any difference in BMD values according to gender both at LS (males vs. females -0.02 +/- 0.30 vs. 0.01 +/- 0.24, P = ns) or at FN (0.77 +/- 0.19 vs. 0.63 +/- 0.15, P = ns).
The anabolic effect of GH excess on bone in acromegalic patients is: (i) gender-independent; (ii) evident at the spine only in eugonadal regardless of disease activity; (iii) evident at femoral neck only in the presence of active disease regardless of gonadal status.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of acromegaly, in an appropriate clinical context, usually relies on lack of GH suppression below 1 microg/l during OGTT coupled with elevated IGF-I levels. On the other hand, in normal subjects glucose-induced inhibition of GH secretory bursts without any further decrease of interpulse GH levels had already been shown. Based on the foregoing, we aimed to compare the diagnostic reliability of OGTT-induced GH nadir with that recorded during 3-h spontaneous GH secretion. In 59 acromegalic patients (17 male and 42 female, age, mean +/- SE 51.5 +/- 1.9, range 21-76 yr) and in 82 normal subjects (43 male and 39 female, age, mean +/- SE 35.7 +/- 1.5, range 15-72 yr) GH secretion was evaluated every 30 min from 0 to 180 min during slow saline infusion or OGTT (75 g at 0 min). A nadir GH concentration below 1 microg/l was recorded in all normal subjects either during OGTT or saline infusion if GH secretion was evaluated over 180 min. In contrast in acromegalic patients a nadir GH concentration below 1 microg/l never occurred in both conditions. This study shows that a 3-h spontaneous GH profile is as reliable as OGTT in the diagnosis of active acromegaly.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the effects of octreotide administration on the growth rate of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas, we measured both the Ki-67 labeling index (LI) and the apoptotic index in tumor specimens from octreotide-treated or matched untreated acromegalic patients. Thirty-nine patients who received octreotide until the day of or the day before surgery and 39 untreated patients matched for sex, age, tumor size, extension, and invasiveness were studied. Immunocytochemical analysis was performed on paraffin-embedded material using a monoclonal antibody (MIB-1) directed against a proliferation-associated nuclear antigen, Ki-67, to measure the growth fraction. Apoptosis was assessed by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxy-UTP nick endlabeling method, using a monoclonal antibody recognizing areas of DNA fragmentation. The Ki-67 LI and apoptosis were counted on separate slides in at least 1000 evaluable cells. Octreotide-treated patients showed a lower Ki-67 LI (1.8 +/- 0.3%) than untreated controls (3.8 +/- 0.7%; P < 0.02). Overall, the mean Ki-67 LI of treated patients was 53% lower than that in untreated patients. The antiproliferative effect of octreotide occurred independently of tumor extension and invasiveness. Octreotide-treated and untreated patients showed similar apoptotic indexes (0.6 +/- 0.2% and 0.8 +/- 0.3%, respectively). There was a positive correlation between the Ki-67 LI and the apoptotic index (r = 0.29; P < 0.03). Our study demonstrates that acromegalic patients receiving chronic octreotide treatment have a lower value of the proliferation marker Ki-67, but no significant difference in the apoptotic index compared with matched untreated patients. The antiproliferative effect of octreotide on GH-secreting adenomas should imply a lower risk of tumor growth during long-term chronic treatment with the drug.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meningiomas have been found to have receptors for several hormones, such as oestrogen, progesterone, somatostatin, dopamine and recently also for prolactin.
To investigate any possible role of prolactin in the growth of those tumours we detected the presence of prolactin-receptors (PRL-R) in 22 meningiomas and we correlated these data with PRL serum levels in patients before surgery. We also studied 13 patients with schwannomas and 7 with other cerebral tumours (4 glioblastomas, 2 ependymomas and 1 astrocytoma).
Increased prolactin binding was present in 10 (45.4 percent;) meningiomas, 9 (69.2 percent;) schwannomas and in the patient with astrocytoma. The presence of high PRL levels was present in 6 (27.2 percent;) patients with meningiomas, 8 (61.5 percent;) with schwannomas and in 3 (42.8 percent;) with other tumours. No direct correlation was present between serum PRL levels and PRL binding in all groups.
In conclusion we confirmed the presence of PRL receptors in patients with meningiomas and we have also shown the presence of PRL receptors also in schwannomas. Moreover increased serum PRL were shown in some patients with different tumours of nervous tissue before surgery. Our data could suggest that PRL might have a role in the growth of meningiomas and schwannomas.
Journal of neurosurgical sciences 07/2001; 45(2):70-4. · 1.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considered exceptional in the past, gonadotroph cell pituitary adenomas account for 3.5-6.4% of total surgically excised pituitary adenomas when examined with immunospecific staining. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical, hormonal, radiological and immunohistochemical features, the management and the follow-up of our patients with gonadotroph adenoma.
In this retrospective study we describe 14 male subjects aged 19-70 yrs affected by gonadotroph cell pituitary adenomas; the patients were studied by hormonal, radiological and immunohistochemical investigations and followed up for 3-13 yrs by ambulatory and/or hospitalized care.
Visual impairment and/or decreased libido and erectile dysfunction were the symptoms at presentation. Increased serum gonadotropin concentrations were shown in 3 patients. Reduced levels of testosterone were present in 9 patients, and normal in the remainder. At diagnosis all patients had pituitary macroadenomas, with wide extrasellar extension in 12. All patients underwent trans-sphenoidal surgery and immunohistochemical staining of surgically excised specimens showed the presence of gonadotroph and alpha-subunit cells in all pituitary adenomas. After surgery 3 patients had clear radiological evidence of normal pituitary; in the others a doubtful MRI picture or a residual adenomatous tissue were present. In the patients who did not undergo radiotherapy immediately after surgery, a regrowth of tumoral tissue was shown in 1-10 yrs.
We stress the importance of a close follow-up of patients with gonadotroph adenomas after surgery, and we raise the question of whether radiotherapy may be useful for avoiding any further adenomatous regrowth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pharmacotherapy of acromegaly has been improved in recent years as new long-acting somatostatin analogs have became available; they have been suggested as an alternative treatment to pituitary surgery and radiotherapy. To avoid the inconvenience of multiple daily injections during long-term therapy, a slow release formulation of lanreotide (LAN), to be administered im at a dose of 30 mg every 7-14 days, has been introduced in the therapeutic management. The suppressive effects of a short-term LAN treatment on GH and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) hypersecretion were shown to be similar to those obtained with sc octreotide. However, scant data have been reported concerning a long-term treatment with this drug. In the present study the efficacy and tolerability of a 24-month LAN treatment were evaluated in 118 active acromegalic patients; 71 had been previously operated on and treated with s.c. octreotide (operated patients), 24 previously operated on had been irradiated and treated with s.c. octreotide (irradiated patients), and the remaining 23 were newly diagnosed (de novo patients). The efficacy was considered on the basis of controlled GH (fasting, <7.5 mU/L; glucose-suppressed, <3.0 mU/L) and IGF-I (age-adjusted normal values) secretion. In the 118 patients as a whole, circulating GH and IGF-I levels were significantly decreased during the 24-month LAN treatment (P < 0.0005 at all time points vs. basal value). After 24 months of therapy, controlled GH and IGF-I levels were achieved in 64%, 37%, and 78% and in 51%, 37%, and 70% of operated, irradiated, and de novo patients, respectively. A reduction in tumor size was documented in 5 of 23 de novo patients (22%). Among the 84 operated/irradiated with evident tumor remnant, significant shrinkage was documented in 5 patients (5.9%). Treatment was well tolerated by the majority of patients. Only 2 patients (1.7%) withdrew from LAN treatment due to severe side effects. In conclusion, a 24-month treatment with slow release lanreotide (30 mg) is effective in reducing GH and IGF-I levels; furthermore, in de novo patients it induces disease control in 70% of patients and causes tumor shrinkage in 22% of them, with excellent compliance. These data suggest that LAN can be used in long-term treatment of acromegalic patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analysed the effects of 6-months' treatment with octreotide s.c. and lanreotide-SR on circulating GH and IGF-I levels in acromegaly.
Open retrospective study.
Thirty-eight patients with active acromegaly (plasma IGF-I levels greater than 2 standard deviations for age-matched controls and increased serum GH levels not suppressible by oral glucose load) were studied. All patients received s.c. octreotide at a dose of 150-600 microg/day for six months as first therapy and subsequently, lanreotide i.m., 30-60 mg either at 14 or 10 day intervals, for 6 months. A 3 months' washout was applied before starting lanreotide treatment.
Mean serum GH levels (from three samples), IGF-I, and clinical examination were performed before and 30, 60, 90 and 180 days after octreotide and lanreotide treatments. Safety tests, HbA1c and, thyroid function were evaluated every three months.
Circulating GH and IGF-I levels were significantly reduced (P < 0.001) after one, three and six months of both octreotide and lanreotide treatment. The absolute values were lower and the percent decrease in serum GH levels obtained after octreotide treatment was significantly greater, at all scheduled assessments, than after lanreotide (P < 0.01). Serum IGF-I levels during octreotide were significantly lower only after the first month of therapy (P < 0.01).
Our study shows that octreotide s.c. is able to induce an earlier reduction in IGF-I levels and a more marked reduction in GH levels than lanreotide. However, after six months of therapy the number of patients with safe GH levels and normal IGF-I age-matched levels, was similar with both drugs. Therefore we suggest that octreotide treatment be preferentially used in the short-term presurgical treatment, while lanreotide can be used in chronic therapy when better compliance is necessary.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuroendocrine hormone ghrelin, a recently discovered acylated peptide with numerous activities in various organ systems, exerts most of its known effects on the body through a highly conserved G-protein–coupled receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) type 1a. The GHSR's wide expression in different tissues reflects activity of its ligands in the hypothalamic-pituitary, cardiovascular, immune, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems. Its extensive cellular distribution along with its important actions on the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis and other neuroendocrine and metabolic systems suggest a pivotal role in governing the mechanisms of aging. A more comprehensive characterization of the receptor, and a more thorough identification of its various agonists and antagonists, will undoubtedly introduce important clinical applications in age-related states like anorexia, cardiovascular pathology, cancer, impaired energy balance, and immune dysfunction.Although present knowledge points to a single functional receptor and a single endogenous ligand, recent investigations suggest the existence of additional GHSR subtypes, as well as other endogenous agonists.It has been more than a decade since the landmark cloning of this ubiquitous, highly conserved receptor, and the considerable extent of its effects on normal physiology and disease states have filled the literature with incredible insights on how organisms regulate various functions through subtle signaling processes. But science has barely scratched the surface, and we can be assured that the mysteries surrounding the precise nature of ghrelin and its receptor(s) are only beginning to unravel.