We purified ghrelin from stomach extracts of a teleost fish, the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) and found that it contained an amide structure at the C-terminal end. Two molecular forms of ghrelin with 21 amino acids were identified by cDNA and mass spectrometric analyses: eel ghrelin-21, GSS(O-n-octanoyl)FLSPSQRPQGKDKKPP RV-amide and eel ghrelin-21-C10, GSS(O-n-decanoyl) FLSPSQRPQGKDKKPPRV-amide. Northern blot and RT-PCR analyses revealed high gene expression in the stomach. Low levels of expression were found only in the brain, intestines, kidney and head kidney by RT-PCR analysis. Eel ghrelin-21 increased plasma growth hormone (GH) concentrations in rats after intravenous injection; the potency was similar to that of rat ghrelin. We also examined the effect of eel ghrelin on the secretion of GH and prolactin (PRL) from organ-cultured tilapia pituitary. Eel ghrelin-21 at a dose of 0.1 nM stimulated the release of GH and PRL, indicating that ghrelin acts directly on the pituitary. The present study revealed that ghrelin is present in fish stomach and has the ability to stimulate the secretion of GH from fish pituitary. A novel regulatory pathway of GH secretion by gastric ghrelin seems to be conserved from fish to human.
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- Author: LG Riley x
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