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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2008;46(2):219-24. doi: 10.2478/v10042-008-0033-4.

Cannabinoids enhance gastric X/A-like cells activity.

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Department of General and Experimental Pathology, Medical University of Bialystok, Poland.


It has been reported that cannabinoids may cause overeating in humans and in laboratory animals. Although, endogenous cannabinoids and their receptors (CB1) have been found in the hypothalamus, and recently also in gastrointestinal tract, the precise mechanism of appetite control by cannabinoids remains unknown. Recently, ghrelin--a hormone secreted mainly from the stomach X/A-like cells was proposed to be an appetite stimulating agent. The aim of this study was the evaluation of the influence of a single ip injection of a stable analogue of endogenous cannabinoid--anandamide, R-(+)-methanandamide (2.5 mg/kg) and CP 55,940 (0.25 mg/kg), an exogenous agonist of CB1 receptors, on ghrelin plasma concentration and on ghrelin immunoreactivity in the gastric mucosa of male Wistar rats. Four hours after a single injection of both cannabinoids or vehicle, the animals were anaesthetized and blood was taken from the abdominal aorta to determinate plasma ghrelin concentration by RIA. Subsequently, the animals underwent resection of distal part of stomach. Immunohistochemical study of gastric mucosa, using the EnVision method and specific monoclonal antibodies against ghrelin was performed. The intensity of ghrelin immunoreactivity in X/A-like cells was analyzed using Olympus Cell D image analysis system. The attenuation of ghrelin-immunoreactivity of gastric mucosa, after a single injection of R-(+)-methanandamide and CP 55,940 was accompanied by a significant increase of ghrelin plasma concentration. These results indicate that stimulation of appetite exerted by cannabinoids may be connected with an increase of ghrelin secretion from gastric X/A-like cells.

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