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World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct 14;18(38):5377-88. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i38.5377.

Protection of ghrelin postconditioning on hypoxia/reoxygenation in gastric epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, The Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical College, 99 West Huaihai Road, Xuzhou 221002, Jiangsu Province, China.



To investigate the protective effect and mechanisms of ghrelin postconditioning against hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R)-induced injury in human gastric epithelial cells.


The model of H/R injury was established in gastric epithelial cell line (GES-1) human gastric epithelial cells. Cells were divided into seven groups: normal control group (N); H/R postconditioning group; DMSO postconditioning group (DM); ghrelin postconditioning group (GH); D-Lys3-GHRP-6 + ghrelin postconditioning group (D + GH); capsazepine + ghrelin postconditioning group (C + GH); and LY294002 + ghrelin postconditioning group (L + GH). 3-(4,5-dimethylthazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to detect GES-1 cell viability. Hoechst 33258 fluorochrome staining and flow cytometry were conducted to determine apoptosis of GES-1 cells. Spectrophotometry was performed to determine release of lactate dehydrogenate (LDH). Protein expression of Bcl-2, Bax, Akt, and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β was determined by western blotting. Expression of vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (VR1), Akt and GSK-3β was observed by immunocytochemistry.


Compared with the H/R group, cell viability of the GH group was significantly increased in a dose-dependent manner (55.9% ± 10.0% vs 69.6% ± 9.6%, 71.9% ± 17.4%, and 76.3% ± 13.3%). Compared with the H/R group, the percentage of apoptotic cells in the GH group significantly decreased (12.38% ± 1.51% vs 6.88% ± 0.87%). Compared with the GH group, the percentage of apoptotic cells in the D + GH group, C + GH group and L + GH groups significantly increased (11.70% ± 0.88%, 11.93% ± 0.96%, 10.20% ± 1.05% vs 6.88% ± 0.87%). There were no significant differences in the percentage of apoptotic cells between the H/R and DM groups (12.38% ± 1.51% vs13.00% ± 1.13%). There was a significant decrease in LDH release following ghrelin postconditioning compared with the H/R group (561.58 ± 64.01 U/L vs 1062.45 ± 105.29 U/L). There was a significant increase in LDH release in the D + GH, C + GH and L + GH groups compared with the GH group (816.89 ± 94.87 U/L, 870.95 ± 64.06 U/L, 838.62 ± 118.45 U/L vs 561.58 ± 64.01 U/L). There were no significant differences in LDH release between the H/R and DM groups (1062.45 ± 105.29 U/L vs 1017.65 ± 68.90 U/L). Compared with the H/R group, expression of Bcl-2 and Akt increased in the GH group, whereas expression of Bax and GSK-3β decreased. Compared with the GH group, expression of Bcl-2 decreased and Bax increased in the D + GH, C + GH and L + GH groups, and Akt decreased and GSK-3β increased in the L + GH group. The H/R group also upregulated expression of VR1 and GSK-3β and downregulated Akt. The number of VR1-positive and Akt-positive cells in the GH group significantly increased, whereas the number of GSK-3β-positive cells significantly decreased. These effects of ghrelin were reversed by capsazepine and LY294002.


Ghrelin postconditioning protected against H/R-induced injury in human gastric epithelial cells, which indicated that this protection might be associated with GHS-R, VR1 and the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.


Apoptosis; Ghrelin; Human gastric epithelial cells; Hypoxia/reoxygenation; Pharmacological postconditioning

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