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      Central and Peripheral Roles of Ghrelin on Glucose Homeostasis

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          Ghrelin, an acylated 28-amino-acid peptide, is an endogenous ligand of the growth hormone secretagogue type 1a (GHS-R1a). Ghrelin is best known for its hypothalamic actions on growth hormone-releasing hormone neurons and neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide neurons; however, ghrelin affects multiple organ systems and the complexity of its functions is only now being realized. Although ghrelin is mainly produced in the stomach, it is also produced in low levels by the hypothalamus and by most peripheral tissues. GHS-R1a is expressed predominantly in the anterior pituitary gland, at lower levels in the brain including hypothalamic neurons that regulate feeding behavior and glucose sensing, and at even lower levels in the pancreas. A reciprocal relationship exists between ghrelin and insulin, suggesting that ghrelin regulates glucose homeostasis. Ablation of ghrelin in mice increases glucose-induced insulin secretion, and improves peripheral insulin sensitivity. This review focuses on the newly emerging role of ghrelin in glucose homeostasis and exploration of whether ghrelin is a potential therapeutic target for diabetes.

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          Most cited references 62

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          The Sir2 family of protein deacetylases.

          The yeast SIR protein complex has been implicated in transcription silencing and suppression of recombination. The Sir complex represses transcription at telomeres, mating-type loci, and ribosomal DNA. Unlike SIR3 and SIR4, the SIR2 gene is highly conserved in organisms ranging from archaea to humans. Interestingly, Sir2 is active as an NAD+-dependent deacetylase, which is broadly conserved from bacteria to higher eukaryotes. In this review, we discuss the role of NAD+, the unusual products of the deacetylation reaction, the Sir2 structure, and the Sir2 chemical inhibitors and activators that were recently identified. We summarize the current knowledge of the Sir2 homologs from different organisms, and finally we discuss the role of Sir2 in caloric restriction and aging.
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            A receptor in pituitary and hypothalamus that functions in growth hormone release.

            Small synthetic molecules termed growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) act on the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus to stimulate and amplify pulsatile growth hormone (GH) release. A heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptor (GPC-R) of the pituitary and arcuate ventro-medial and infundibular hypothalamus of swine and humans was cloned and was shown to be the target of the GHSs. On the basis of its pharmacological and molecular characterization, this GPC-R defines a neuroendocrine pathway for the control of pulsatile GH release and supports the notion that the GHSs mimic an undiscovered hormone.
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              Obestatin, a peptide encoded by the ghrelin gene, opposes ghrelin's effects on food intake.

              Ghrelin, a circulating appetite-inducing hormone, is derived from a prohormone by posttranslational processing. On the basis of the bioinformatic prediction that another peptide also derived from proghrelin exists, we isolated a hormone from rat stomach and named it obestatin-a contraction of obese, from the Latin "obedere," meaning to devour, and "statin," denoting suppression. Contrary to the appetite-stimulating effects of ghrelin, treatment of rats with obestatin suppressed food intake, inhibited jejunal contraction, and decreased body-weight gain. Obestatin bound to the orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR39. Thus, two peptide hormones with opposing action in weight regulation are derived from the same ghrelin gene. After differential modification, these hormones activate distinct receptors.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                November 2007
                26 September 2007
                : 86
                : 3
                : 215-228
                aHuffington Center on Aging, bDepartment of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and cDepartment of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex., USA
                109094 Neuroendocrinology 2007;86:215–228
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, References: 95, Pages: 14


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