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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Peripheral ghrelin injections stimulate food intake, foraging, and food hoarding in Siberian hamsters.

Fasting triggers many effects, including increases in circulating concentrations of ghrelin, a primarily stomach-derived orexigenic hormone. Exogenous ghrelin treatment stimulates food intake, implicating it in fasting-induced increases in feeding, a consummatory ingestive behavior. In Siberian hamsters, fasting also stimulates appetitive ingestive behaviors such as foraging and food hoarding. Therefore, we tested whether systemic ghrelin injections (3, 30, and 200 mg/kg) would stimulate these appetitive behaviors using a running wheel-based food delivery system coupled with simulated burrow housing. We also measured active ghrelin plasma concentrations after exogenous ghrelin treatment and compared them to those associated with fasting. Hamsters had the following: 1) no running wheel access, free food; 2) running wheel access, free food; or 3) foraging requirement (10 revolutions/pellet), no free food. Ghrelin stimulated foraging at 0-1, 2-4, and 4-24 h postinjection but failed to affect wheel running activity not coupled to food. Ghrelin stimulated food intake initially (200-350%, first 4 h) across all groups; however, in hamsters with a foraging requirement, ghrelin also stimulated food intake 4-24 h postinjection (200-250%). Ghrelin stimulated food hoarding 2-72 h postinjection (100-300%), most markedly 2-4 h postinjection in animals lacking a foraging requirement (635%). Fasting increased plasma active ghrelin concentrations in a time-dependent fashion, with the 3- and 30-mg/kg dose creating concentrations of the peptide comparable to those induced by 24-48 h of fasting. Collectively, these data suggest that exogenous ghrelin, similar to fasting, increases appetitive behaviors (foraging, hoarding) by Siberian hamsters, but dissimilar to fasting in this species, stimulates food intake.[1]


  1. Peripheral ghrelin injections stimulate food intake, foraging, and food hoarding in Siberian hamsters. Keen-Rhinehart, E., Bartness, T.J. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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