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Endocrinology. 2010 Aug;151(8):3773-82. doi: 10.1210/en.2010-0061. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Reduced ghrelin secretion in the hypothalamus of rats due to cisplatin-induced anorexia.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saitama Medical Center, Saitama Medical University, Saitama, Japan.


Although chemotherapy with cisplatin is a widely used and effective cancer treatment, the undesirable gastrointestinal side effects associated with it, such as nausea, vomiting, and anorexia, markedly decrease patients' quality of life. To elucidate the mechanism underlying chemotherapy-induced anorexia, focusing on the hypothalamic ghrelin secretion-anorexia association, we measured hypothalamic ghrelin secretion in fasted and cisplatin-treated rats. Hypothalamic ghrelin secretion changes after vagotomy or administration of cisplatin. Cisplatin + rikkunshito, a serotonin 2C receptor antagonist or serotonin 3 receptor antagonist, was investigated. The effects of intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of ghrelin or the serotonin 2C receptor antagonist SB242084 on food intake were also evaluated in cisplatin-treated rats. Hypothalamic ghrelin secretion significantly increased in 24-h-fasted rats compared to freely fed rats and was markedly reduced 24 and 48 h after cisplatin treatment in cisplatin-treated rats compared to saline-treated rats, although their plasma ghrelin levels were comparable. In cisplatin-treated rats, icv ghrelin administration reversed the decrease in food intake, vagotomy partially restored hypothalamic ghrelin secretion, and hypothalamic serotonin 2C receptor mRNA expression increased significantly. Administration of rikkunshito (an endogenous ghrelin enhancer) or a serotonin 2C receptor antagonist reversed the decrease in hypothalamic ghrelin secretion and food intake 24 h after cisplatin treatment. Cisplatin-induced anorexia is mediated through reduced hypothalamic ghrelin secretion. Cerebral serotonin 2C receptor activation partially induces decrease in hypothalamic ghrelin secretion, and rikkunshito suppresses cisplatin-induced anorexia by enhancing this secretion.

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