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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Jun;290(6):G1289-97. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Ghrelin receptors in rat and human nodose ganglia: putative role in regulating CB-1 and MCH receptor abundance.

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  • 1Physiological Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK.


Intact vagal afferent neurons are required for the satiety effects of the intestinal hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) and the orexigenic effects of the gastric regulatory peptide ghrelin. In this study, we examined the localization of ghrelin receptors in nodose ganglia and their function in regulating the expression of other orexigenic receptors, notably cannabinoid (CB)-1 and melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)-1 receptors. With the use of RT-PCR, transcripts corresponding to both functional [growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R)1a] and truncated forms (GHS-R1b) of the ghrelin receptor were detected in rat nodose ganglia. There was no difference in expression between rats fed ad libitum or fasted for up to 48 h. Immunohistochemical studies using antibodies directed at GHS-R1a revealed expression in over 75% of neurons also expressing CCK-1 receptors in the mid- and caudal regions of the ganglion. There was also expression in human nodose ganglia. In fasted rats in which CB-1 and MCH-1 receptor expression was increased, administration of ghrelin prevented the downregulation by refeeding. We conclude that the actions of CCK and ghrelin are mediated by a common population of vagal afferent neurons. Ghrelin may act to limit the action of CCK in depressing expression of CB-1 and MCH-1 receptors and other receptors.

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