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T Hayashida, K Nakahara, MS Mondal, Y Date, M Nakazato, M Kojima, K Kangawa, and N Murakami

Ghrelin, a 28 amino acid peptide, has recently been isolated from the rat stomach as an endogenous ligand for the GH secretagogue receptor. The fact that administration of ghrelin, centrally or peripherally, stimulates both food intake and GH secretion suggests that stomach ghrelin has an important role in the growth of rats. We used immunohistochemistry and radioimmunoassay to determine the age at which ghrelin-immunostained cells begin to appear in the rat stomach. Ghrelin-immunoreactive cells were found to be expressed in the fetal stomach from pregnancy day 18. The number of ghrelin-immunoreactive cells in the fetal stomach increased as the stomach grew. The amount of ghrelin in the glandular part of the rat stomach also increased, in an age-dependent manner, from the neonatal stage to adult. Eight hours of milk restriction significantly decreased the ghrelin concentration in the stomachs of 1-week-old rats, and increased the ghrelin concentration in their plasma. Administration of ghrelin to 1- and 3-week-old rats increased plasma GH concentrations. The daily subcutaneous administration of ghrelin to pregnant rats from day 15 to day 21 of pregnancy caused an increase in body weight of newborn rats. In addition, daily subcutaneous administration of ghrelin to neonatal rats from birth advanced the day of vaginal opening from day 30.7+/-0.94 to day 27.9+/-0.05. These results suggest that ghrelin may be involved in neonatal development.

Free access

M S Mondal, H Yamaguchi, Y Date, K Toshinai, T Kawagoe, T Tsuruta, H Kageyama, Y Kawamura, S Shioda, Y Shimomura, M Mori, and M Nakazato

Neuropeptide W (NPW) is a 30-amino-acid peptide initially isolated from the porcine hypothalamus as an endogenous ligand for the G protein-coupled receptors GPR7 and GPR8. An intracerebroventricular administration of NPW increased serum prolactin and corticosterone concentrations, decreased dark-phase feeding, raised energy expenditure, and lowered body weight. Peripherally, GPR7 receptors are abundantly expressed throughout the gastrointestinal tract; the presence of NPW in the gastrointestinal endocrine system, however, remains unstudied. Using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies raised against rat NPW, we studied the localization of NPW in the rat, mouse, and human stomach by light and electron microscopy. NPW-immunoreactive cells were identified within the gastric antral glands in all three species. Double immunohistochemistry and electron-microscopic immunohistochemistry studies in rats demonstrated that NPW is present in antral gastrin (G) cells. NPW immunoreactivity localized to round, intermediate-to-high-density granules in G cells. NPW-immunoreactive cells accounted for 90% chromagranin A- and 85% gastrin-immunoreactive endocrine cells in the rat gastric antral glands. Using reversed-phase HPLC coupled with enzyme immunoassays specific for NPW, we detected NPW30 and its C-terminally truncated form, NPW23, in the gastric mucosa. Plasma NPW concentration of the gastric antrum was significantly higher than that of the systemic vein, suggesting that circulating NPW is derived from the stomach. Plasma NPW concentration of the gastric antrum decreased significantly after 15-h fast and increased after refeeding. This is the first report to clarify the presence of NPW peptide in the stomachs of rats, mice, and humans. In conclusion, NPW is produced in gastric antral G cells; our findings will provide clues to additional mechanisms of the regulation of gastric function by this novel brain/gut peptide.

Free access

N Murakami, T Hayashida, T Kuroiwa, K Nakahara, T Ida, MS Mondal, M Nakazato, M Kojima, and K Kangawa

Ghrelin, a 28-amino-acid peptide, has recently been isolated from the rat stomach as an endogenous ligand for the GH secretagogue receptor. We have reported previously that central or peripheral administration of ghrelin stimulates food intake, and the secretion of GH and gastric acid in rats. In the present study, we investigated how much endogenous centrally released ghrelin is involved in the control of food intake and body weight gain. We also examined the profile of ghrelin secretion from the stomach by RIA using two kinds of anti-ghrelin antiserum, one raised against the N-terminal ([Cys(12)]-ghrelin[1-11]) region and one raised against the C-terminal ([Cys(0)]-ghrelin [13-28]) region of the peptide. The former antibody recognizes specifically ghrelin with n- octanoylated Ser 3 (acyl ghrelin), and does not recognize des-acyl ghrelin. The latter also recognizes des-acyl ghrelin (i.e. total ghrelin). Intracerebroventricular treatment with the anti-ghrelin antiserum against the N-terminal region twice a day for 5 days decreased significantly both daily food intake and body weight. Des-acyl ghrelin levels were significantly higher in the gastric vein than in the trunk. Either fasting for 12 h, administration of gastrin or cholecystokinin resulted in increase of both acyl and des-acyl ghrelin levels. The ghrelin levels exhibited a diurnal pattern, with the bimodal peaks occurring before dark and light periods. These two peaks were consistent with maximum and minimum volumes of gastric content respectively. These results suggest that (1) endogenous centrally released ghrelin participates in the regulation of food intake and body weight, (2) acyl ghrelin is secreted from the stomach, (3) intestinal hormones stimulate ghrelin release from the stomach, and (4) regulation of the diurnal rhythm of ghrelin is complex, since ghrelin secretion is augmented under conditions of both gastric emptying and filling.

Open access

Farhana Naznin, Koji Toshinai, T M Zaved Waise, Cherl NamKoong, Abu Saleh Md Moin, Hideyuki Sakoda, and Masamitsu Nakazato

Ghrelin, a stomach-derived orexigenic peptide, transmits starvation signals to the hypothalamus via the vagus afferent nerve. Peripheral administration of ghrelin does not induce food intake in high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice. We investigated whether this ghrelin resistance was caused by dysfunction of the vagus afferent pathway. Administration (s.c.) of ghrelin did not induce food intake, suppression of oxygen consumption, electrical activity of the vagal afferent nerve, phosphorylation of ERK2 and AMP-activated protein kinase alpha in the nodose ganglion, or Fos expression in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of mice fed a HFD for 12 weeks. Administration of anti-ghrelin IgG did not induce suppression of food intake in HFD-fed mice. Expression levels of ghrelin receptor mRNA in the nodose ganglion and hypothalamus of HFD-fed mice were reduced. Inflammatory responses, including upregulation of macrophage/microglia markers and inflammatory cytokines, occurred in the nodose ganglion and hypothalamus of HFD-fed mice. A HFD blunted ghrelin signaling in the nodose ganglion via a mechanism involving in situ activation of inflammation. These results indicate that ghrelin resistance in the obese state may be caused by dysregulation of ghrelin signaling via the vagal afferent.