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Nutrients 2012, 4(8), 967-989; doi:10.3390/nu4080967
Review

The Role of Ghrelin, Salivary Secretions, and Dental Care in Eating Disorders

1
,
1
,
2
,
2
,
3
 and
2,*
1 Department of Orthodontics, Medical and Dental Hospital, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan 2 Department of Psychosomatic Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan 3 Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8544, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 June 2012 / Revised: 16 July 2012 / Accepted: 2 August 2012 / Published: 13 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maladaptive Eating Attitudes in Youth)
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Abstract

Eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia nervosa, are potentially life-threatening syndromes characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior. An effective treatment strategy for these conditions remains to be established, as patients with eating disorders tend to suffer from multiple relapses. Because ghrelin was originally discovered in the stomach mucosa, it has been widely studied over the past decade in an effort to uncover its potential roles; these studies have shed light on the mechanism by which ghrelin regulates food intake. Thus, studying ghrelin in the context of eating disorders could improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of eating disorders, possibly resulting in a promising new pharmacological treatment strategy for these patients. In addition, early detection and treatment of eating disorders are critical for ensuring recovery of young patients. Oral symptoms, including mucosal, dental, and saliva abnormalities, are typically observed in the early stages of eating disorders. Although oral care is not directly related to the treatment of eating disorders, knowledge of the oral manifestations of eating disorder patients may aid in early detection, resulting in earlier treatment; thus, oral care might contribute to overall patient management and prognosis. Moreover, ghrelin has also been found in saliva, which may be responsible for oral hygiene and digestion-related functions. This review discusses the pharmacological potential of ghrelin in regulating food-intake and the role of saliva and oral care in young patients with eating disorders.
Keywords: anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; ghrelin; salivary secretions anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; ghrelin; salivary secretions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Yagi, T.; Ueda, H.; Amitani, H.; Asakawa, A.; Miyawaki, S.; Inui, A. The Role of Ghrelin, Salivary Secretions, and Dental Care in Eating Disorders. Nutrients 2012, 4, 967-989.

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