22 December 2000
We have previously reported that hexarelin and some of its analogs, including EP 50885, stimulated GH secretion and feeding after systemic administration in the rat, whereas EP 40904 selectively stimulated food intake and EP 40737 only GH release. The precise mechanism of growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRPs) actions is still unclear, but the integrity of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) appears crucial for their endocrine effects. To better characterize the site(s) and mechanisms(s) of the orexigenic action of GHRPs, we have investigated their effects after infusion into the arcuate, paraventricular, ventromedial and medial preoptic areas of the hypothalamus. Food intake was measured for 60 min following injection of the test compound (2 µg/rat). Hexarelin, EP 40904 and EP 50885 had significant orexigenic effects after injection into the ARC. A specific NPY antagonist significantly inhibited the effect of hexarelin, whereas a GHRH antagonist was ineffective. In the paraventricular nucleus, only EP 50885 stimulated feeding, whereas all peptides were ineffective in the ventromedial nucleus and medial preoptic area. Taken altogether, these results demonstrate that GHRPs are endowed with site-specific orexigenic actions and that endogenous NPY, but not GHRH, mediates these effects. The additional orexigenic action of EP 50885 in the paraventricular nucleus suggests the existence of a GHRP receptor subtype different from the already cloned one.