Several studies suggest that the peptide hormone ghrelin mediates some of the usual behavioral responses to acute and chronic stress. Circulating ghrelin levels have been found to rise following stress. It has been proposed that this elevated ghrelin helps animals cope with stress by generating antidepressant-like behavioral adaptations, although another study suggests that decreasing CNS ghrelin expression has antidepressant-like effects. Ghrelin also seems to have effects on anxiety, although these have been shown to be alternatively anxiogenic or anxiolytic. The current review discusses our current understanding of ghrelin's roles in stress, mood, and anxiety.
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