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A role for ghrelin in the central regulation of feeding.

Nature

Weight Gain, Animals, Satiation, Rats, Wistar, Rats, physiology, immunology, Peptides, Peptide Hormones, Neuropeptide Y, Male, Leptin, Injections, Intraventricular, Immunoglobulin G, Hypothalamus, Homeostasis, Growth Hormone, Ghrelin, Genes, fos, Gene Expression, Feeding Behavior, Energy Metabolism, metabolism, Brain, Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus

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      Abstract

      Ghrelin is an acylated peptide that stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary. Ghrelin-producing neurons are located in the hypothalamus, whereas ghrelin receptors are expressed in various regions of the brain, which is indicative of central-and as yet undefined-physiological functions. Here we show that ghrelin is involved in the hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis. Intracerebroventricular injections of ghrelin strongly stimulated feeding in rats and increased body weight gain. Ghrelin also increased feeding in rats that are genetically deficient in growth hormone. Anti-ghrelin immunoglobulin G robustly suppressed feeding. After intracerebroventricular ghrelin administration, Fos protein, a marker of neuronal activation, was found in regions of primary importance in the regulation of feeding, including neuropeptide Y6 (NPY) neurons and agouti-related protein (AGRP) neurons. Antibodies and antagonists of NPY and AGRP abolished ghrelin-induced feeding. Ghrelin augmented NPY gene expression and blocked leptin-induced feeding reduction, implying that there is a competitive interaction between ghrelin and leptin in feeding regulation. We conclude that ghrelin is a physiological mediator of feeding, and probably has a function in growth regulation by stimulating feeding and release of growth hormone.

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      Most cited references 30

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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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          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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            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.1038/35051587
            11196643

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