Ghrelin inhibits leptin- and activation-induced proinflammatory cytokine expression by human monocytes and T cells.

Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.
Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor: 13.77). 08/2004; 114(1):57-66. DOI: 10.1172/JCI21134
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ghrelin, a recently described endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), is produced by stomach cells and is a potent circulating orexigen, controlling energy expenditure, adiposity, and growth hormone secretion. However, the functional role of ghrelin in regulation of immune responses remains undefined. Here we report that GHS-R and ghrelin are expressed in human T lymphocytes and monocytes, where ghrelin acts via GHS-R to specifically inhibit the expression of proinflammatory anorectic cytokines such as IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. Ghrelin led to a dose-dependent inhibition of leptin-induced cytokine expression, while leptin upregulated GHS-R expression on human T lymphocytes. These data suggest the existence of a reciprocal regulatory network by which ghrelin and leptin control immune cell activation and inflammation. Moreover, ghrelin also exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects and attenuates endotoxin-induced anorexia in a murine endotoxemia model. We believe this to be the first report demonstrating that ghrelin functions as a key signal, coupling the metabolic axis to the immune system, and supporting the potential use of ghrelin and GHS-R agonists in the management of disease-associated cachexia.

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    ABSTRACT: Ghrelin levels are known to increase in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), but serum obestatin levels in UC patients are not well elucidated. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between serum ghrelin and obestatin levels and disease activity in UC patients. The serum ghrelin and obestatin levels were measured in 21 UC patients (12 with active disease and 9 in remission) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The relationship between the circulating levels of these 2 hormones and disease activity was analyzed. The colonic mucosal mRNA expression of ghrelin and obestatin was measured by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The mean serum ghrelin values were significantly higher in patients with active disease than in patients with remission (1370.6±404.3 vs. 783.5±235.3 pg/mL, P=0.001). Colonic mucosal mRNA expression of ghrelin was also significantly higher in patients with active disease than in patients in remission (0.805±0.214 vs. 0.481±0.356, P=0.018). However, the mean serum obestatin levels and colonic mucosal mRNA expression of obestatin were not significantly different between both groups. The circulating obestatin/ghrelin ratio was significantly lower in patients with active UC than in patients in remission (0.32±0.08 vs. 0.58±0.20, P=0.001). The serum ghrelin levels and the obestatin/ghrelin ratio were related to the activity of UC, but serum obestatin was not related to activity of UC. The ghrelin levels and the obestatin/ghrelin ratio could serve as activity markers in patients with UC.

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