Ghrelin stimulates intestinal adaptation following massive small bowel resection in parenterally fed rats

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Since short bowel syndrome (SBS) patients face life-threatening conditions, the development of therapeutic strategies to induce intestinal adaptation has been investigated. Ghrelin, a ligand of growth hormone (GH) secretagogue-receptor that stimulates the release of GH and insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), has several pleiotropic effects. We investigated whether ghrelin induces intestinal adaptation in parenterally fed rats with SBS.


Sprague-Dawley rats underwent venous catheterization and were divided into 3 groups: those receiving 90% small bowel resection while leaving the proximal jejunum and distal ileum (90% SBR) with TPN (SBS/TPN group), those receiving 90% SBR with TPN+ghrelin (SBS/TPN/ghrelin group), and those receiving sham operation and fed chow (sham group). Ghrelin was administered intravenously at 10μg/kg/day. On Day 13, the rats were euthanized and the small intestine harvested, and the histology and crypt cell proliferation rates (CCPR), apoptosis, and nutrient transporter protein levels were analyzed and the plasma hormones were measured.


The villus height and crypt depth of the ileum in the SBS/TPN/ghrelin group were significantly higher than in the SBS/TPN group. The CCPR of the jejunum and the ileum significantly increased by the administration of ghrelin; however, the apoptosis rates did not significantly differ between the SBS/TPN and SBS/TPN/ghrelin groups. Significant differences did not exist in the plasma IGF-1 and nutrient transporter protein levels among three groups.


The intravenous administration of ghrelin stimulated the morphological intestinal adaptation of the ileum to a greater degree than the jejunum due to the direct effect of ghrelin.

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