Direct peripheral effects of ghrelin include suppression of adiponectin expression

V Ott, M Fasshauer, A Dalski, B Meier, N Perwitz, H H Klein, M Tschöp, J Klein
Hormone and Metabolic Research 2002, 34 (11): 640-5
The stomach-derived peptide, ghrelin, has recently been discovered as an important regulator of energy homeostasis. Central nervous system pathways involving stimulation of hypothalamic neuropeptides play a prominent role in mediating ghrelin's orexigenic effects. However, potential direct peripheral effects remain poorly understood. Using a brown adipocyte model, we tested ghrelin-mediated influences on adipose tissue. Chronic ghrelin stimulation of differentiating adipocytes did not affect the pattern or extent of fat accumulation. Furthermore, insulin-induced glucose uptake as a hallmark of adipocyte function was not altered by ghrelin pre-treatment. However, acute ghrelin treatment resulted in a significant time-dependent increase in p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation. There was no stimulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, JAK/STAT, or stress kinase signaling pathways. Furthermore, ghrelin did not significantly alter gene expression of the thermogenic uncoupling protein-1. By contrast, expression of the novel adipokine adiponectin, which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and obesity, was strongly impaired. This inhibition occurred acutely, and was sustained for several hours. In summary, our data provide evidence for selective effects of ghrelin on adipocyte signaling and function and thus propose a role for adipose tissue as a novel mediator of ghrelin's effects on energy balance and glucose homeostasis.

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