Article

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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