Novel heteromeric receptors: ghrelin receptors and dopamine receptors working together

Ghrelin is a naturally occurring hormone that had been thought to be a transmitter in the central nervous system (CNS). Some years ago we discovered that ghrelin is a powerful CNS-acting stimulant of defecation in animal models and humans. A striking conclusion from our discoveries is that the strong stimulation of defecation by ghrelin agonists is independent of ghrelin, which we discovered to be absent from the CNS. Our data indicates that the physiological activation of the ghrelin receptor, GHSR, is through dopaminergic transmission acting at a combined GHSR/dopamine 2 receptor (DRD2).


  • Investigating how ghrelin and dopamine receptor agonists act and interact at this receptor complex in biophysical systems, isolated cells, native cells and whole animals.
  • Investigate the relevance of our discoveries for treatment of constipation in two disease models.

Research team


  • Dr Sebastian Furness
  • Billie Hunne

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