Ghrelin Alleviates Experimental Ulcerative Colitis in Old Mice and Modulates Colonocyte Metabolism via PPAR Pathway.
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There is a growing prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, among the aging population. Ghrelin is a gut hormone that, in addition to controlling feeding and energy metabolism, has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects; however, the effect of ghrelin in protecting against colitis in old mice has not been assessed. Here, we subjected old female C57BL/6J mice to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in drinking water for six days, then switched back to normal drinking water, administered acyl-ghrelin or vehicle control from day 3 to 13, and monitored disease activities throughout the disease course. Our results showed that treatment of old mice with acyl-ghrelin attenuated DSS-induced colitis. Compared to the DSS group, ghrelin treatment decreased levels of the inflammation marker S100A9 in the colons collected on day 14 but not on day 8, suggesting that the anti-inflammatory effect was more prominent in the recovery phase. Ghrelin treatment also significantly reduced F4/80 and interleukin-17A on day 14. Moreover, acyl-ghrelin increased mitochondrial respiration and activated transcriptional activity of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR) in Caco-2 cells. Together, our data show that ghrelin alleviated DSS-induced colitis, suggesting that ghrelin may promote tissue repair in part through regulating epithelial metabolism via PPAR mediated signaling.