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Amino Acids. 2012 Oct;43(4):1751-9. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

Pharmacological characterization of the ghrelin receptor mediating its inhibitory action on inflammatory pain in rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, Chemotherapy and Medical Toxicology, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Vanvitelli, 32, 20129, Milan, Italy.


Recent research suggests a role for ghrelin in the modulation of inflammatory disorders. However, the type of ghrelin receptor (GHS-R) involved in both the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic actions of ghrelin remains to be characterized. In this study, we examined whether the inhibitory effect of ghrelin in the development of hyperalgesia and edema induced by intraplantar carrageenan administration depends on an interaction with GHS-R1a. Both central (1 nmol/rat, i.c.v.) and peripheral (40 nmol/kg, i.p.) administration of the selective GHS-R1a agonist EP1572 had no effect on carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia measured by Randall-Selitto test and paw edema. Furthermore, pre-treatment with the selective GHS-R1a antagonist, D-lys(3)-GHRP-6 (3 nmol/rat, i.c.v.) failed to prevent the anti-hyperalgesic and anti-inflammatory effects exerted by central ghrelin administration (1 nmol/rat), thus indicating that the type 1a GHS-R is not involved in these peptide activities. Accordingly, both central (1 and 2 nmol/rat, i.c.v.) and peripheral (40 and 80 nmol/kg, i.p.) administration of desacyl-ghrelin (DAG), which did not bind GHS-R1a, induced a significant reduction of the hyperalgesic and edematous activities of carrageenan. In conclusion, we have shown for the first time that DAG shares with ghrelin an inhibitory role in the development of hyperalgesia, as well as the paw edema induced by carrageenan and that a ghrelin receptor different from type 1a is involved in the anti-inflammatory activities of the peptide.

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