Over the past decade, our knowledge of how homeostatic systems regulate food intake and body weight has increased with the discovery of circulating peptides such as leptin, acyl ghrelin, des-acyl ghrelin and obestatin. These hormones regulate the appetite and food intake by sending signals to the brain regarding the body's nutritional status. The purpose of this study was to investigate the response of appetite-regulating hormones to exercise. Nine overweight women undertook two 2 h trials in a randomized crossover design. In the exercise trial, subjects ran for 60 min at 50% of maximal oxygen uptake followed by a 60 min rest period. In the control trial, subjects rested for 2 h. Obestatin, acyl ghrelin, des-acyl ghrelin and leptin concentrations were measured at baseline and at 20, 40, 60, 90 and 120 min after baseline. A two-way ANOVA revealed a significant (P < 0.05) interaction effect for leptin and acyl ghrelin. However, changes in obestatin and des-acyl ghrelin concentration were statistically insignificant (P > 0.05). The data indicated that although acute treadmill exercise resulted in a significant change in acyl ghrelin and leptin levels, it had no effect on plasma obestatin and des-acyl ghrelin levels.