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Neuroscience. 2009 Dec 1;164(2):351-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.08.009. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

Reduced anticipatory locomotor responses to scheduled meals in ghrelin receptor deficient mice.

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Institute for Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S5B6.


Ghrelin, an orexigenic hormone produced by the stomach, is secreted in anticipation of scheduled meals and in correlation with anticipatory locomotor activity. We hypothesized that ghrelin is directly implicated in stimulating locomotor activity in anticipation of scheduled meals. To test this hypothesis, we observed 24 h patterns of locomotor activity in mice with targeted mutations of the ghrelin receptor gene (GHSR KO) and wild-type littermates, all given access to food for 4 h daily for 14 days. While wild type (WT) and GHSR KO mice produced increases in anticipatory locomotor activity, anticipatory locomotor activity in GHSR KO mice was attenuated (P<0.05). These behavioral measures correlated with attenuated levels of Fos immunoreactivity in a number of hypothalamic nuclei from GHSR KO placed on the same restricted feeding schedule for 7 days and sacrificed at ZT4. Interestingly, seven daily i.p. ghrelin injections mimicked hypothalamic Fos expression patterns to those seen in mice under restricted feeding schedules. These data suggest that ghrelin acts in the hypothalamus to augment locomotor activity in anticipation of scheduled meals.

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