Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Ghrelin secretion is not reduced by increased fat mass during diet-induced obesity

Xiang Qi, Jason T. Reed, Guiyun Wang, Song Han, Ella W. Englander, George H. Greeley Jr.


Ghrelin is a stomach hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion, adiposity, and food intake. Gastric ghrelin production and secretion are regulated by caloric intake; ghrelin secretion increases during fasting, decreases with refeeding, and is reduced by diet-induced obesity. The aim of the present study was to test the hypotheses that 1) an increase in body adiposity will play an inhibitory role in the reduction of gastric ghrelin synthesis and secretion during chronic ingestion of a high-fat (HF) diet and 2) chronic ingestion of an HF diet will suppress the rise in circulating ghrelin levels in response to acute fasting. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a standard AIN-76A (∼5–12% of calories from fat) or an HF (∼45% of calories from fat) diet. The effect of increased adiposity on gastric ghrelin homeostasis was assessed by comparison of stomach ghrelin production and plasma ghrelin levels in obese and nonobese rats fed the HF diet. HF diet-fed, nonobese rats were generated by administration of triiodothyronine to lower body fat accumulation. Our findings indicate that an increased fat mass per se does not exert an inhibitory effect on ghrelin homeostasis during ingestion of the HF diet. Additionally, the magnitude of change in plasma ghrelin in response to fasting was not blunted, indicating that a presumed, endogenous signal for activation of ingestive behavior remains intact, despite excess stored calories in HF-fed rats.

  • gut hormones
  • regulation
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