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      A Preprandial Rise in Plasma Ghrelin Levels Suggests a Role in Meal Initiation in Humans

      , , , , ,
      Diabetes
      American Diabetes Association

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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 references22

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          Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulatory signal from stomach with structural resemblance to motilin.

          : Ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptor, was recently identified in the rat stomach. We examined the effects of the gastric peptide ghrelin on energy balance in association with leptin and vagal nerve activity. : Food intake, oxygen consumption, gastric emptying, and hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) messenger RNA expression were measured after intra-third cerebroventricular or intraperitoneal injections of ghrelin in mice. The gastric vagal nerve activity was recorded after intravenous administration in rats. Gastric ghrelin gene expression was assessed by Northern blot analysis. Repeated coadministration of ghrelin and interleukin (IL)-1 beta was continued for 5 days. : Ghrelin exhibited gastroprokinetic activity with structural resemblance to motilin and potent orexigenic activity through action on the hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and Y(1) receptor, which was lost after vagotomy. Ghrelin decreased gastric vagal afferent discharge in contrast to other anorexigenic peptides that increased the activity. Ghrelin gene expression in the stomach was increased by fasting and in ob/ob mice, and was decreased by administration of leptin and IL-1 beta. Peripherally administered ghrelin blocked IL-1 beta-induced anorexia and produced positive energy balance by promoting food intake and decreasing energy expenditure. : Ghrelin, which is negatively regulated by leptin and IL-1 beta, is secreted by the stomach and increases arcuate NPY expression, which in turn acts through Y(1) receptors to increase food intake and decrease energy expenditure. Gastric peptide ghrelin may thus function as part of the orexigenic pathway downstream from leptin and is a potential therapeutic target not only for obesity but also for anorexia and cachexia.
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            The stomach is a source of leptin.

            The circulating peptide leptin, which is the product of the ob gene, provides feedback information on the size of fat stores to central Ob receptors that control food intake and body-weight homeostasis. Leptin has so far been reported to be secreted only by adipocytes and the placenta. Here we show that leptin messenger RNA and leptin protein are present in rat gastric epithelium, and that cells in the glands of the gastric fundic mucosa are immunoreactive for leptin. The physiological function of this previously unsuspected source of leptin is unknown. However, both feeding and administration of CCK-8 (the biologically active carboxy-terminal end of cholecystokinin) result in a rapid and large decrease in both leptin cell immunoreactivity and the leptin content of the fundic epithelium, with a concomitant increase in the concentration of leptin in the plasma. These results indicate that gastric leptin may be involved in early CCK-mediated effects activated by food intake, possibly including satiety.
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              Ghrelin stimulates gastric acid secretion and motility in rats.

              Ghrelin, a novel growth-hormone-releasing peptide, was discovered in rat and human stomach tissues. However, its physiological and pharmacological actions in the gastric function remain to be determined. Therefore, we studied the effects of rat ghrelin on gastric functions in urethane-anesthetized rats. Intravenous administrations of rat ghrelin at 0.8 to 20 microgram/kg dose-dependently increased not only gastric acid secretion measured by a lumen-perfused method, but also gastric motility measured by a miniature balloon method. The maximum response in gastric acid secretion was almost equipotent to that of histamine (3 mg/kg, i.v.). Moreover, these actions were abolished by pretreatment with either atropine (1 mg/kg, s.c.) or bilateral cervical vagotomy, but not by a histamine H(2)-receptor antagonist (famotidine, 1 mg/kg, s.c.). These results taken together suggest that ghrelin may play a physiological role in the vagal control of gastric function in rats. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diabetes
                Diabetes
                American Diabetes Association
                0012-1797
                1939-327X
                August 01 2001
                August 01 2001
                : 50
                : 8
                : 1714-1719
                Article
                10.2337/diabetes.50.8.1714
                11473029
                078fba48-335c-4074-bceb-63bbb5a998ca
                © 2001
                History

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