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A preprandial rise in plasma ghrelin levels suggests a role in meal initiation in humans.

Diabetes

Insulin, Adult, Aging, Circadian Rhythm, physiology, Eating, Female, Ghrelin, Humans, blood, Leptin, Male, Peptide Hormones, Peptides, Postprandial Period, Radioimmunoassay, Reference Values, Regression Analysis

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      Abstract

      The recently discovered orexigenic peptide ghrelin is produced primarily by the stomach and circulates in blood at levels that increase during prolonged fasting in rats. When administered to rodents at supraphysiological doses, ghrelin activates hypothalamic neuropeptide Y/agouti gene-related protein neurons and increases food intake and body weight. These findings suggest that ghrelin may participate in meal initiation. As a first step to investigate this hypothesis, we sought to determine whether circulating ghrelin levels are elevated before the consumption of individual meals in humans. Ghrelin, insulin, and leptin were measured by radioimmunoassay in plasma samples drawn 38 times throughout a 24-h period in 10 healthy subjects provided meals on a fixed schedule. Plasma ghrelin levels increased nearly twofold immediately before each meal and fell to trough levels within 1 h after eating, a pattern reciprocal to that of insulin. Intermeal ghrelin levels displayed a diurnal rhythm that was exactly in phase with that of leptin, with both hormones rising throughout the day to a zenith at 0100, then falling overnight to a nadir at 0900. Ghrelin levels sampled during the troughs before and after breakfast correlated strongly with 24-h integrated area under the curve values (r = 0.873 and 0.954, respectively), suggesting that these convenient, single measurements might serve as surrogates for 24-h profiles to estimate overall ghrelin levels. Circulating ghrelin also correlated positively with age (r = 0.701). The clear preprandial rise and postprandial fall in plasma ghrelin levels support the hypothesis that ghrelin plays a physiological role in meal initiation in humans.

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      Most cited references 28

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      Positional cloning of the mouse obese gene and its human homologue.

      The mechanisms that balance food intake and energy expenditure determine who will be obese and who will be lean. One of the molecules that regulates energy balance in the mouse is the obese (ob) gene. Mutation of ob results in profound obesity and type II diabetes as part of a syndrome that resembles morbid obesity in humans. The ob gene product may function as part of a signalling pathway from adipose tissue that acts to regulate the size of the body fat depot.
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        Ghrelin is a growth-hormone-releasing acylated peptide from stomach.

        Small synthetic molecules called growth-hormone secretagogues (GHSs) stimulate the release of growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary. They act through GHS-R, a G-protein-coupled receptor for which the ligand is unknown. Recent cloning of GHS-R strongly suggests that an endogenous ligand for the receptor does exist and that there is a mechanism for regulating GH release that is distinct from its regulation by hypothalamic growth-hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). We now report the purification and identification in rat stomach of an endogenous ligand specific for GHS-R. The purified ligand is a peptide of 28 amino acids, in which the serine 3 residue is n-octanoylated. The acylated peptide specifically releases GH both in vivo and in vitro, and O-n-octanoylation at serine 3 is essential for the activity. We designate the GH-releasing peptide 'ghrelin' (ghre is the Proto-Indo-European root of the word 'grow'). Human ghrelin is homologous to rat ghrelin apart from two amino acids. The occurrence of ghrelin in both rat and human indicates that GH release from the pituitary may be regulated not only by hypothalamic GHRH, but also by ghrelin.
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          Ghrelin induces adiposity in rodents.

          The discovery of the peptide hormone ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue (GHS) receptor, yielded the surprising result that the principal site of ghrelin synthesis is the stomach and not the hypothalamus. Although ghrelin is likely to regulate pituitary growth hormone (GH) secretion along with GH-releasing hormone and somatostatin, GHS receptors have also been identified on hypothalamic neurons and in the brainstem. Apart from potential paracrine effects, ghrelin may thus offer an endocrine link between stomach, hypothalamus and pituitary, suggesting an involvement in regulation of energy balance. Here we show that peripheral daily administration of ghrelin caused weight gain by reducing fat utilization in mice and rats. Intracerebroventricular administration of ghrelin generated a dose-dependent increase in food intake and body weight. Rat serum ghrelin concentrations were increased by fasting and were reduced by re-feeding or oral glucose administration, but not by water ingestion. We propose that ghrelin, in addition to its role in regulating GH secretion, signals the hypothalamus when an increase in metabolic efficiency is necessary.
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            11473029

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