Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Ablation of ghrelin receptor reduces adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity during aging by regulating fat metabolism in white and brown adipose tissues.

Aging Cell 2011 December
Aging is associated with increased adiposity in white adipose tissues and impaired thermogenesis in brown adipose tissues; both contribute to increased incidences of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Ghrelin is the only known circulating orexigenic hormone that promotes adiposity. In this study, we show that ablation of the ghrelin receptor (growth hormone secretagogue receptor, GHS-R) improves insulin sensitivity during aging. Compared to wild-type (WT) mice, old Ghsr(-/-) mice have reduced fat and preserve a healthier lipid profile. Old Ghsr(-/-) mice also exhibit elevated energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate, yet have similar food intake and locomotor activity. While GHS-R expression in white and brown adipose tissues was below the detectable level in the young mice, GHS-R expression was readily detectable in visceral white fat and interscapular brown fat of the old mice. Gene expression profiles reveal that Ghsr ablation reduced glucose/lipid uptake and lipogenesis in white adipose tissues but increased thermogenic capacity in brown adipose tissues. Ghsr ablation prevents age-associated decline in thermogenic gene expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Cell culture studies in brown adipocytes further demonstrate that ghrelin suppresses the expression of adipogenic and thermogenic genes, while GHS-R antagonist abolishes ghrelin's effects and increases UCP1 expression. Hence, GHS-R plays an important role in thermogenic impairment during aging. Ghsr ablation improves aging-associated obesity and insulin resistance by reducing adiposity and increasing thermogenesis. Growth hormone secretagogue receptor antagonists may be a new means of combating obesity by shifting the energy balance from obesogenesis to thermogenesis.

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