Send to

Choose Destination
World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Nov 7;14(41):6306-11.

Characteristic features of ghrelin cells in the gastrointestinal tract and the regulation of stomach ghrelin expression and production.

Author information

Area of Regulatory Biology, Division of Life Science, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, 255 Shimo-ohkubo, Sakuraku, Saitama 338-8570, Japan.


Ghrelin was isolated as an endogenous ligand for the GH secretagogue receptor from the rat stomach. Although physiological effects of ghrelin have been revealed by numerous studies, the regulation of stomach ghrelin remains obscure, and the factor that directly regulates ghrelin expression and production has not been identified. Here, we show some data regarding the characteristic features of ghrelin cells and the regulation of stomach ghrelin. In the gastrointestinal tract, ghrelin cells were identified as opened- and closed-type cells, and it was found that the number of ghrelin cells decreased from the stomach to the colon. The postnatal change in number of ghrelin cells in the stomach showed a sexually dimorphic pattern, indicating a role of estrogen in the regulation of stomach ghrelin. In vitro studies revealed that estrogen stimulated both ghrelin expression and production and that treatment with formestane, an aromatase (estrogen synthetase) inhibitor, decreased ghrelin expression level. On the other hand, leptin was found to inhibit both basal and estrogen-stimulated ghrelin expression. Moreover, both aromatase mRNA-expressing cells and leptin cells were found to be located close to ghrelin cells in the gastric mucosa. Furthermore, we found an inverse relationship between gastric ghrelin and leptin levels in a fasting state, and we revealed relative changes in expression of gastric ghrelin, estrogen and leptin in the postnatal rats. We propose that gastric estrogen and leptin directly regulate stomach ghrelin and that the balance control through gastric estrogen and leptin contributes to the altered ghrelin expression level in some physiological states.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center