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      Hexarelin Modulates the Expression of Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptor Type 1a mRNA at Hypothalamic and Pituitary Sites

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          Ghrelin and the synthetic growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) activate a G-protein-coupled receptor (GHS-R) originally cloned from the pituitary, but which is also expressed in the hypothalamus, in other areas of the brain and in numerous peripheral tissues. Several studies have shown that growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone (GHRH) is necessary for GHSs to exert maximal GH release in vivo. The exact mechanism of this synergism is not clear. Previous data suggest that GHSs can affect pituitary GHS-R mRNA expression; however, it is unknown whether this effect is age dependent and whether hypothalamic GHS-Rs are also affected. In this study, we tested whether (a) the synthetic GHS hexarelin regulates mRNA expression of its own receptor at the pituitary and/or hypothalamus and whether this effect is age dependent, and (b) whether short-term treatment with GHRH or, conversely, passive immunization against GHRH affects pituitary GHS-R1a mRNA expression in infant (10 days old) and young adult rats. GHS-R1a mRNA expression was measured with competitive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Hexarelin treatment significantly increased pituitary and hypothalamic GHS-R1a mRNA levels in normal infant rats, but not in normal young adult rats. In addition, hexarelin administration also stimulated pituitary GHS-R1a mRNA in infant as well as in young adult rats passively immunized against GHRH. GHRH treatment significantly enhanced pituitary GHS-R1a mRNA expression in GHRH-deprived young adult rats, though it did not affect the basal levels of GHS-R1a mRNA in normal infant and adult rats. These data further support the hypothesis that GHRH can affect GHS-R1a expression and that hexarelin upregulates the expression of its own receptor at the pituitary as well as the hypothalamus in an age-dependent fashion.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin inhibit cell death in cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells through ERK1/2 and PI 3-kinase/AKT

          Ghrelin is an acyl-peptide gastric hormone acting on the pituitary and hypothalamus to stimulate growth hormone (GH) release, adiposity, and appetite. Ghrelin endocrine activities are entirely dependent on its acylation and are mediated by GH secretagogue (GHS) receptor (GHSR)-1a, a G protein–coupled receptor mostly expressed in the pituitary and hypothalamus, previously identified as the receptor for a group of synthetic molecules featuring GH secretagogue (GHS) activity. Des-acyl ghrelin, which is far more abundant than ghrelin, does not bind GHSR-1a, is devoid of any endocrine activity, and its function is currently unknown. Ghrelin, which is expressed in heart, albeit at a much lower level than in the stomach, also exerts a cardio protective effect through an unknown mechanism, independent of GH release. Here we show that both ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin inhibit apoptosis of primary adult and H9c2 cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells in vitro through activation of extracellular signal–regulated kinase-1/2 and Akt serine kinases. In addition, ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin recognize common high affinity binding sites on H9c2 cardiomyocytes, which do not express GHSR-1a. Finally, both MK-0677 and hexarelin, a nonpeptidyl and a peptidyl synthetic GHS, respectively, recognize the common ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin binding sites, inhibit cell death, and activate MAPK and Akt. These findings provide the first evidence that, independent of its acylation, ghrelin gene product may act as a survival factor directly on the cardiovascular system through binding to a novel, yet to be identified receptor, which is distinct from GHSR-1a.
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            Characterisation of gastric ghrelin cells in man and other mammals: studies in adult and fetal tissues.

            Ghrelin is a new gastric peptide involved in food intake control and growth hormone release. We aimed to assess its cell localisation in man during adult and fetal life and to clarify present interspecies inconsistencies of gastric endocrine cell types. A specific serum generated against amino acids 13-28 of ghrelin was tested on fetal and adult gastric mucosa and compared with ghrelin in situ hybridisation. Immunogold electron microscopy was performed on normal human, rat and dog adult stomach. Ghrelin cells were detected in developing gut, pancreas and lung from gestational week 10 and in adult human, rat and dog gastric mucosa. By immunogold electron microscopy, gastric ghrelin cells showed distinctive morphology and hormone reactivity in respect to histamine enterochromaffin-like, somatostatin D, glucagon A or serotonin enterochromaffin cells. Ghrelin cells were characterised by round, compact, electron-dense secretory granules of P/D(1) type in man (mean diameter 147+/-30 nm), A-like type in the rat (183+/-37 nm) and X type in the dog (273+/-49 nm). It is concluded that, ghrelin is produced by well-defined cell types, which in the past had been labelled differently in various mammals mostly because of the different size of their secretory granule. In man ghrelin cells develop during early fetal life.
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              Endocrine Activities of Ghrelin, a Natural Growth Hormone Secretagogue (GHS), in Humans: Comparison and Interactions with Hexarelin, a Nonnatural Peptidyl GHS, and GH-Releasing Hormone

               E Arvat (2001)

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2004
                15 October 2004
                : 80
                : 1
                : 52-59
                aDepartment of Experimental and Environmental Medicine and Biotechnology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, and bDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; cDivision of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., USA
                80793 Neuroendocrinology 2004;80:52–59
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, References: 44, Pages: 8
                Growth Hormone Regulation


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