Ghrelin, a substance related to growth-hormone, is being studied to determine if it may improve the symptoms of emphysema. Ghrelin is known to stimulate muscle growth, create anti-inflammatory effects, promote dilation of blood vessels, and improve heart performance. Researchers hypothesized that use of the drug in emphysema patients might reduce lung inflammation and remodeling and might also improve lung mechanics and cardiac function.
Results of a Study Using Ghrelin to Treat Emphysema Symptoms in Mice
In a study using mice in which lung damage was caused by introducing chemicals into the lungs to cause emphysema, ghrelin was found to reduce the lung damage, improve heart function, and also increase muscle mass.
The researchers concluded that the results achieved by this study should prompt further studies to evaluate ghrelin as a potential therapy for emphysema. However, drugs that work in mice often do not work the same way in people. Extensive testing in patients would be required to prove the value of this therapy.
Information for this article was obtained from BioMed Central.