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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2007 Aug;147(4):1116-24. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Plasma ghrelin levels in rainbow trout in response to fasting, feeding and food composition, and effects of ghrelin on voluntary food intake.

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Fish Endocrinology Laboratory, Department of Zoology/Zoophysiology, Göteborg University, Box 463, S-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.


Ghrelin, a peptide hormone which stimulates growth hormone (GH) release, appetite and adiposity in mammals, was recently identified in fish. In this study, the roles of ghrelin in regulating food intake and the growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) system of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were investigated in three experiments: 1) Pre- and postprandial plasma levels of ghrelin were measured in relation to dietary composition and food intake through dietary inclusion of radio-dense lead-glass beads, 2) the effect of a single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection with rainbow trout ghrelin on short-term voluntary food intake was examined and 3) the effect of one to three weeks fasting on circulating ghrelin levels and the correlation with plasma GH and IGF-I levels, growth and lipid content in the liver and muscle was studied. There was no postprandial change in plasma ghrelin levels. Fish fed a normal-protein/high-lipid (31.4%) diet tended to have higher plasma ghrelin levels than those fed a high-protein/low-lipid (14.1%) diet. Plasma ghrelin levels decreased during fasting and correlated positively with specific growth rates, condition factor, liver and muscle lipid content, and negatively with plasma GH and IGF-I levels. An i.p. ghrelin injection did not affect food intake during 12-hours post-injection. It is concluded that ghrelin release in rainbow trout may be influenced by long-term energy status, and possibly by diet composition. Further, in rainbow trout, ghrelin seems to be linked to growth and metabolism, but does not seem to stimulate short-term appetite through a peripheral action.

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