The suppression of ghrelin signaling mitigates ageassociated thermogenic impairment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Aging is associated with severe thermogenic impairment, which contributes to obesity and diabetes in aging. We previously reported that ablation of the ghrelin receptor, growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), attenuates ageassociated obesity and insulin resistance. Ghrelin and obestatin are derived from the same preproghrelin gene. Here we showed that in brown adipocytes, ghrelin decreases the expression of thermogenic regulator but obestatin increases it, thus showing the opposite effects. We also found that during aging, plasma ghrelin and GHSR expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT) are increased, but plasma obestatin is unchanged. Increased plasma ghrelin and unchanged obestatin during aging may lead to an imbalance of thermogenic regulation, which may in turn exacerbate thermogenic impairment in aging. Moreover, we found that GHSR ablation activates thermogenic signaling, enhances insulin activation, increases mitochondrial biogenesis, and improves mitochondrial dynamics of BAT. In addition, we detected increased norepinephrine in the circulation, and observed that GHSR knockdown in brown adipocytes directly stimulates thermogenic activity, suggesting that GHSR regulates thermogenesis via both central and peripheral mechanisms.Collectively, our studies demonstrate that ghrelin signaling is an important thermogenic regulator in aging. Antagonists of GHSR may serve as unique antiobesity agents, combating obesity by activating thermogenesis.

published proceedings

  • Aging (Albany NY)

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, L., Lee, J. H., Bongmba, O., Ma, X., Zhu, X., Sheikh-Hamad, D., & Sun, Y.

citation count

  • 50

complete list of authors

  • Lin, Ligen||Lee, Jong Han||Bongmba, Odelia YN||Ma, Xiaojun||Zhu, Xiongwei||Sheikh-Hamad, David||Sun, Yuxiang

publication date

  • December 2014

published in