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Diabetes. 2001 Nov;50(11):2438-43.

Chronic central infusion of ghrelin increases hypothalamic neuropeptide Y and Agouti-related protein mRNA levels and body weight in rats.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. jkamegai@nms.ac.jp

Abstract

Ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), was originally purified from the rat stomach. Like the synthetic growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs), ghrelin specifically releases growth hormone (GH) after intravenous administration. Also consistent with the central actions of GHSs, ghrelin-immunoreactive cells were shown to be located in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus as well as the stomach. Recently, we showed that a single central administration of ghrelin increased food intake and hypothalamic agouti-related protein (AGRP) gene expression in rodents, and the orexigenic effect of this peptide seems to be independent of its GH-releasing activity. However, the effect of chronic infusion of ghrelin on food consumption and body weight and their possible mechanisms have not been elucidated. In this study, we determined the effects of chronic intracerebroventricular treatment with ghrelin on metabolic factors and on neuropeptide genes that are expressed in hypothalamic neurons that have been previously shown to express the GHS-R and to regulate food consumption. Chronic central administration of rat ghrelin (1 microg/rat every 12 h for 72 h) significantly increased food intake and body weight. However, it did not affect plasma insulin, glucose, leptin, or GH concentrations. We also found that chronic central administration of ghrelin increased both neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA levels (151.0 +/- 10.1% of saline-treated controls; P < 0.05) and AGRP mRNA levels (160.0 +/- 22.5% of saline-treated controls; P < 0.05) in the arcuate nucleus. Thus, the primary hypothalamic targets of ghrelin are NPY/AGRP-containing neurons, and ghrelin is a newly discovered orexigenic peptide in the brain and stomach.

PMID:
11679419
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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