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H Takahashi, Y Kurose, S Kobayashi, T Sugino, M Kojima, K Kangawa, Y Hasegawa, and Y Terashima

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of physiologic levels of ghrelin on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity (glucose disposal) in scheduled fed-sheep, using the hyperglycemic clamp and hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp respectively. Twelve castrated Suffolk rams (69.8 ± 0.6 kg) were conditioned to be fed alfalfa hay cubes (2% of body weight) once a day. Three hours after the feeding, synthetic ovine ghrelin was intravenously administered to the animals at a rate of 0.025 and 0.05 μg/kg body weight (BW) per min for 3 h. Concomitantly, the hyperglycemic clamp or the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp was carried out. In the hyperglycemic clamp, a target glucose concentration was clamped at 100 mg/100 ml above the initial level. In the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp, insulin was intravenously administered to the animals for 3 h at a rate of 2 mU/kg BW per min. Basal glucose concentrations (44± 1 mg/dl) were maintained by variably infusing 100 mg/dl glucose solution. In both clamps, plasma ghrelin concentrations were dose-dependently elevated and maintained at a constant level within the physiologic range. Ghrelin infusions induced a significant (ANOVA; P < 0.01) increase in plasma GH concentrations. In the hyperglycemic clamp, plasma insulin levels were increased by glucose infusion and were significantly (P < 0.05) greater in ghrelin-infused animals. In the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp, glucose infusion rate, an index of insulin sensitivity, was not affected by ghrelin infusion. In conclusion, the present study has demonstrated for the first time that ghrelin enhances glucose-induced insulin secretion in the ruminant animal.

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T Akamizu, T Murayama, S Teramukai, K Miura, I Bando, T Irako, H Iwakura, H Ariyasu, H Hosoda, H Tada, A Matsuyama, S Kojima, T Wada, Y Wakatsuki, K Matsubayashi, T Kawakita, A Shimizu, M Fukushima, M Yokode, and K Kangawa

Aging is associated with a decrease in growth hormone (GH) secretion, appetite and energy intake. As ghrelin stimulates both GH secretion and appetite, reductions in ghrelin levels may be involved in the reductions in GH secretion and appetite observed in the elderly. However, only preliminary studies have been performed on the role of ghrelin in elderly subjects. In this study, we sought to clarify the physiologic implications of the age-related alterations in ghrelin secretion by determining plasma ghrelin levels and other clinical parameters in healthy elderly subjects. Subjects were ≥ 65 years old, corresponding to the SENIEUR protocol, had not had a resection of the upper gastrointestinal tract and had not been treated with hormones. One hundred and five volunteers (49 men and 56 women) were admitted to this study (73.4 ± 6.3 years old). Plasma levels of acylated ghrelin in elderly female subjects positively correlated with serum IGF-I levels and bowel movement frequency and negatively with systolic blood pressure. In elderly men, desacyl ghrelin levels correlated only weakly with bowel movement frequency. These findings suggest that the plasma levels of the acylated form of ghrelin may influence the age-related alterations in GH/IGF-I regulation, blood pressure and bowel motility. These observational associations warrant further experimental studies to clarify the physiologic significance of these effects.