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Hypertension. 2011 Mar;57(3):633-9. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.166413. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

Intrarenal ghrelin infusion stimulates distal nephron-dependent sodium reabsorption in normal rats.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908-1414, USA.


Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide hormone that exerts powerful orexigenic effects. Ghrelin receptor expression has been reported in the kidney, but the role of ghrelin in the kidney is unknown. The present studies confirmed ghrelin receptor mRNA expression in the kidneys of normal Sprague Dawley rats (n=6) using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the 588-bp PCR product. To test intrarenal ghrelin action, uninephrectomized rats received 3 cumulative 1-hour renal interstitial (RI) infusions of 5% dextrose in water (vehicle, n=21), ghrelin (n=10), ghrelin plus specific ghrelin receptor antagonist [D-Lys-3]-GHRP-6 (n=24), or [D-Lys-3]-GHRP-6 alone (n=32). Mean arterial pressure (MAP), urine sodium excretion rate (U(Na)V), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), fractional excretion of sodium (FE(Na)), and fractional excretion of lithium (FE(Li)) were calculated for each period. RI ghrelin infusion significantly decreased U(Na)V to 86 ± 4.9% (P<0.05), 74 ± 6.5% (P<0.01), and 62 ± 10% (P<0.01) of baseline during periods 1 to 3, respectively. Ghrelin also significantly decreased FE(Na) to 68 ± 11% (P<0.05), 57 ± 8.6% (P<0.001), and 59 ± 12% (P<0.01) of baseline, without changing GFR or FE(Li). Identical ghrelin infusions in the presence of [D-Lys-3]-GHRP-6 failed to permit reductions in U(Na)V or FE(Na). Following [D-Lys-3]-GHRP-6 infusion alone, U(Na)V increased from 0.06 ± 0.01 to 0.18 ± 0.03 μmol/min (P<0.0001). Concomitant increases in FE(Na) were also observed (0.23 ± 0.03% to 0.51 ± 0.06% [P<0.001]), without changes in MAP, GFR, or FE(Li). Together, these data introduce a novel intrarenal ghrelin-ghrelin receptor system, which, on activation, significantly increases Na(+) reabsorption at the level of the distal nephron.

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