Des-acyl ghrelin induces food intake by a mechanism independent of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ghrelin, an acylated peptide produced predominantly in the stomach, stimulates feeding and GH secretion via interactions with the GH secretagogue type 1a receptor (GHS-R1a), the functionally active form of the GHS-R. Ghrelin molecules exist in the stomach and hypothalamus as two major endogenous forms, a form acylated at serine 3 (ghrelin) and a des-acylated form (des-acyl ghrelin). Acylation is indispensable for the binding of ghrelin to the GHS-R1a. Ghrelin enhances feeding via the neuronal pathways of neuropeptide Y and orexin, which act as orexigenic peptides in the hypothalamus. We here studied the effect of des-acyl ghrelin on feeding behavior. Intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of rat des-acyl ghrelin to rats or mice fed ad libitum stimulated feeding during the light phase; neither ip nor icv administration of des-acyl ghrelin to fasting mice suppressed feeding. The icv administration of des-acyl ghrelin induced the expression of Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, in orexin-expressing neurons of the lateral hypothalamic area, but not neuropeptide Y-expressing neurons of the arcuate nucleus. Peripheral administration of des-acyl ghrelin to rats or mice did not affect feeding. Although icv administration of ghrelin did not induce food intake in GHS-R-deficient mice, it did in orexin-deficient mice. In contrast, icv administration of des-acyl ghrelin stimulated feeding in GHS-R-deficient mice, but not orexin-deficient mice. Des-acyl ghrelin increased the intracellular calcium concentrations in isolated orexin neurons. Central des-acyl ghrelin may activate orexin-expressing neurons, perhaps functioning in feeding regulation through interactions with a target protein distinct from the GHS-R.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

altmetric score

  • 47

author list (cited authors)

  • Toshinai, K., Yamaguchi, H., Sun, Y., Smith, R. G., Yamanaka, A., Sakurai, T., ... Nakazato, M.

citation count

  • 306

complete list of authors

  • Toshinai, Koji||Yamaguchi, Hideki||Sun, Yuxiang||Smith, Roy G||Yamanaka, Akihiro||Sakurai, Takeshi||Date, Yukari||Mondal, Muhtashan S||Shimbara, Takuya||Kawagoe, Takashi||Murakami, Noboru||Miyazato, Mikiya||Kangawa, Kenji||Nakazato, Masamitsu

publication date

  • May 2006