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

Effects of peripherally and centrally applied ghrelin in the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion induced injury of the small intestine.

Ghrelin is an important hormone involved in the control of the human appetite center. Recently, protective properties of this hormone have been recognized in various models of impairment of the gastric mucosa, including stress, ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). Ghrelin is predominantly secreted by the gastric mucosa of stomach, but there are other sources of ghrelin, for example in the hypothalamus and various parts of the central nervous system (CNS) that should be taken into consideration. This hormone exerts biological effects via the activation of growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), the presence of which was confirmed in different parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and midbrain structures. Although substantial evidence of the divergent biological effects of ghrelin and the mechanism of its action has been emphasized, the precise mechanisms of ghrelin which affords GI protection is still unclear. Particularly, there is a sparse amount of evidence concerning its action on the GI system. The major aim of the present study was to evaluate the importance of peripherally and centrally administered ghrelin at different times of the ischemia and reperfusion (I/R period in the modulation of resistance of the intestinal mucosa to the injury induced by ischemia and subsequent reperfusion. Secondly, we wanted to evaluate the possible mechanism of the action of ghrelin with a particular focus on its influence on the intestinal blood flow. Male Wistar rats were divided into 4 series (A-D) of the experimental groups (n=7). In series A the importance of peripherally administered ghrelin at different time of I/R period was studied. In series B the importance of centrally administered ghrelin at different time of I/R period was evaluated. In series C and D, the mechanisms of peripherally and centrally administered hormone were examined, respectively. Two models of the I/R period were selected: short lasting (30/60 min) and long lasting (60/120 min). The following drugs were used: ghrelin (50 μg/kg i.p. or 1 nmol in 10 μl i.c.v.), 6 hydroxy dopamine (50 mg/kg i.p.), nadolol (0.5 mg/kg i.p.), calcitonin gene related peptide fragment (CGRP(8-37), 100 μg /kg i.p.), capsaicin (5-10 mg/100 ml solution s.c.). The mesenteric blood flow (MBF-ml/min), the intestinal microcirculatory blood flow (LDBF-PU), the arterio-venous oxygen difference (AVO(2)-ml/O(2)/100 ml blood), and the intestinal oxygen uptake (VO(2)) in ml O(2)/min were measured. Mucosal impairment was assessed planimetrically with the use of a digital photo analyzer (LA) and histologically with the use of the six-point Park/Chiu scale. Peripheral administration of ghrelin evoked marked increase of MBF and LDBF by 42% and 48%, respectively, with significant reduction of LA by 38%. When ghrelin was administered at the beginning of the reperfusion period during the short I/R period or prior to the long lasting I/R period, the vascular reactions and protective effects were reduced, but not completely abolished. The central administration of ghrelin before the short I/R period significantly increased the MBF and LDBF by about 32% and 35%, respectively, as well as LA reduction by about 20% in comparison to the control group. However, when ghrelin was administered prior to the long I/R period or after the onset of completed ischemia, neither vascular nor protective effects were noticed. Sensory denervation and the blockade of the CGRP1 receptors totally blocked the protective and hyperemic effects of the peripherally administered ghrelin. Selective blockade of the adrenergic system or blunting of the vagal nerves (vagotomy) significantly but not totally eliminated the effects of centrally applied ghrelin, which were abolished when both adrenergic and parasympathetic pathways were ablated. These results indicate that ghrelin applied centrally or peripherally markedly increases resistance of the intestinal tissue during the I/R period induced mucosal and hyperemic impairment evoked by I/R. Ghrelin is an important mediator of the increase in the intestinal microcirculation and elevation of the intestinal metabolism, which seems to be, at least in part, responsible for the observed protection of the intestine subjected to I/R. Impairment of this microvasculature response due to I/R seems to be responsible for a markedly observed weaker effect of ghrelin when this hormone was administered after the ischemic period. The lack of a protective effect observed after central administration of this peptide against a long lasting I/R period is probably due to damage of neural pathways caused by I/R. Finally, the peripheral activity of ghrelin in the intestine is mediated by the sensory neurons with a prominent role of CGRP released from their endings. However, this peripheral action of ghrelin depends upon the proper functioning of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic system.[1]


  1. Effects of peripherally and centrally applied ghrelin in the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion induced injury of the small intestine. Pawlik, M.W., Obuchowicz, R., Biernat, J., Szczepanski, W., Pajdo, R., Kwiecień, S., Brzozowski, T., Konturek, S.J., Pawlik, W.W. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. (2011) [Pubmed]
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