Anorexigenic and electrophysiological actions of novel ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1A) antagonists in rats

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Here we provide the first pharmacological exploration of the impact of acute central nervous system exposure to three recently developed ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1A) ligands on food intake and on the electrical activity of the target cells for ghrelin in the hypothalamus. Central (i.c.v) injection of GHS-R1A antagonists to rats suppressed food intake induced by i.c.v ghrelin injection (1 μg) in a dose-dependent manner with a total blockade at concentrations of 0.4 μg and 8 μg for JMV 3002 and JMV 2959 respectively. JMV 2810, a partial agonist, also suppressed ghrelin-induced food intake (range: 0.02–2 μg). Moreover all three compounds reduced fasting-induced food intake in rats (i.e. the amount of food eaten during the first hour of food exposure after a 16 h fast). At the single cell level we also explored the effects of the compounds to suppress ghrelin (0.5 μM)-induced changes in electrical activity of arcuate nucleus cells recorded extracellularly in a slice preparation. Preincubation followed by perfusion with the GHS-R1A ligands suppressed the responsiveness of arcuate cells to ghrelin. Thus, the recently developed GHS-R1A ligands (JMV 3002, 2959 and 2810) suppress ghrelin-induced and fasting-induced food intake at the level of the central nervous system. This appears to be mediated, at least in part, by a modulation of the activity of ghrelin-responsive arcuate nucleus cells. As the central ghrelin signalling system has emerged as an important pro-obesity target, it will be important to establish the efficacy of these GHS-R1A ligands to reduce fat mass in clinical studies.

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