Variations in the ghrelin receptor gene associate with obesity and glucose metabolism in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance.
ABSTRACT: Ghrelin may influence the development of obesity through its role in the control of energy balance, food intake, and regulation of body weight. The effects of ghrelin are mediated via the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR).We genotyped 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the GHSR gene and assessed the association between those SNPs and obesity and type 2 diabetes-related phenotypes from 507 middle-aged overweight persons with impaired glucose tolerance participating in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS). Additionally, we performed in silico screening of the 5'-regulatory region of GHSR and evaluated SNPs disrupting putative transcription factor (TF) binding sites in vitro with gelshift assays to determine differences in protein binding between different alleles of SNPs. Rs9819506 in the promoter region of GHSR was associated with body weight (p = 0.036); persons with rs9819506-AA genotype having the lowest body weight. Individuals with rs490683-CC genotype displayed highest weight loss in the whole study population (p = 0.032). The false discovery rate for these results was <10%. Rs490683 and rs509035 were associated with several measures of glucose and insulin metabolism during the follow-up. Rs490683 may be a functional SNP, since gelshift experiments showed differential protein binding between the alleles, with higher binding to the G-allele. Rs490683-C may disrupt a putative binding site for the TF nuclear factor 1 (NF-1), thus rs4906863-GG genotype where the NF-1 site is intact may lead to a higher GHSR gene expression.Polymorphisms in the GHSR promoter may modify changes in body weight during long-term lifestyle intervention and affect ghrelin receptor signalling through modulation of GHSR gene expression.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The GH secretagogue receptor type 1a gene (GHSR) encodes the cognate receptor of ghrelin, a gut hormone that regulates food intake and pituitary GH secretion. Previous studies in U.S. families and a German population suggested GHSR to be a candidate quantitative locus for association with human obesity and growth. AIM:The aim of the study was to test common genetic variation in GHSR for association with body size in children and adults. METHODS:Sequencing was performed to systematically identify novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GHSR. A set of three haplotype-tagging SNPs that captured all the genetic variation in GHSR was identified. These three haplotype-tagging SNPs were then genotyped in three large population-based U.K. cohort studies (two adult and one childhood cohort) comprising 5807 adults and 843 children. RESULTS:No significant genotype or haplotype associations were found with adult or childhood height, weight, or body mass index. CONCLUSION:Common variation in GHSR is not associated with body size in U.K. adults or children.
Project description:Ghrelin plays a role in appetite and has been hypothesized to play a role in the mechanism of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region of its receptor gene (growth hormone secretagogue receptor type 1a--GHSR) have also been associated with weight loss outcomes following long-term dietary intervention in adults with impaired glucose tolerance. Our objectives were to evaluate changes in serum ghrelin levels and determine the effect of GHSR promoter polymorphisms on post-RYGB surgery weight loss.Preoperative and 6-month postoperative serum ghrelin levels were measured in 37 patients with extreme obesity undergoing RYGB surgery. Total ghrelin was also measured in liver tissue collected intraoperatively. Association analysis between genotypes for SNPs rs9819506 and rs490683 in the promoter region of the GHSR gene and weight loss outcomes in the 30 months following surgery was performed in over 650 RYGB patients.Serum ghrelin levels increased after RYGB surgery. Weight loss trajectories were significantly different using an additive model for both ghrelin SNPs, with patients homozygous for the rs490683 CC genotype exhibiting the most weight loss. Weight loss trajectories were also different using a dominant model. The rs490683 risk allele demonstrated decreased promoter activity in vitro.The role of increased ghrelin levels in weight loss outcomes following RYGB surgery may be influenced by variation in the GHSR gene.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Ghrelin acylation by ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) has recently been reported to be essential for the prevention of hypoglycemia during prolonged negative energy balance. Using a unique set of four different genetic loss-of-function models for the GOAT/ghrelin/growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) system, we thoroughly tested the hypothesis that lack-of-ghrelin activation or signaling would lead to hypoglycemia during caloric deprivation. METHODOLOGY:Male and female knockout (KO) mice for GOAT, ghrelin, GHSR, or both ghrelin and GHSR (dKO) were subjected to prolonged calorie restriction (40% of ad libitum chow intake). Body weight, fat mass, and glucose levels were recorded daily and compared to wildtype (WT) controls. Forty-eight hour blood glucose profiles were generated for each individual mouse when 2% or less body fat mass was reached. Blood samples were obtained for analysis of circulating levels of acyl- and desacyl-ghrelin, IGF-1, and insulin. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Chronic calorie restriction progressively decreased body weight and body fat mass in all mice regardless of genotype. When fat mass was depleted to 2% or less of body weight for 2 consecutive days, random hypoglycemic events occurred in some mice across all genotypes. There was no increase in the incidence of hypoglycemia in any of the four loss-of-function models for ghrelin signaling including GOAT KO mice. Furthermore, no differences in insulin or IGF-1 levels were observed between genotypes. CONCLUSION:The endogenous GOAT-ghrelin-GHSR system is not essential for the maintenance of euglycemia during prolonged calorie restriction.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Binding of ghrelin to its receptor, growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), stimulates GH release, induces eating, and increases blood glucose. These processes may also be influenced by constitutive (ghrelin-independent) GHSR activity, as suggested by findings in short people with naturally occurring GHSR-A204E mutations and reduced food intake and blood glucose in rodents administered GHSR inverse agonists, both of which impair constitutive GHSR activity. In this study, we aimed to more fully determine the physiologic relevance of constitutive GHSR activity. METHODS:We generated mice with a GHSR mutation that replaces alanine at position 203 with glutamate (GHSR-A203E), which corresponds to the previously described human GHSR-A204E mutation, and used them to conduct ex vivo neuronal electrophysiology and in vivo metabolic assessments. We also measured signaling within COS-7 and HEK293T cells transfected with wild-type GHSR (GHSR-WT) or GHSR-A203E constructs. RESULTS:In COS-7 cells, GHSR-A203E resulted in lower baseline IP3 accumulation than GHSR-WT; ghrelin-induced IP3 accumulation was observed in both constructs. In HEK293T cells co-transfected with voltage-gated CaV2.2 calcium channel complex, GHSR-A203E had no effect on basal CaV2.2 current density while GHSR-WT did; both GHSR-A203E and GHSR-WT inhibited CaV2.2 current in the presence of ghrelin. In cultured hypothalamic neurons from GHSR-A203E and GHSR-deficient mice, native calcium currents were greater than those in neurons from wild-type mice; ghrelin inhibited calcium currents in cultured hypothalamic neurons from both GHSR-A203E and wild-type mice. In brain slices, resting membrane potentials of arcuate NPY neurons from GHSR-A203E mice were hyperpolarized compared to those from wild-type mice; the same percentage of arcuate NPY neurons from GHSR-A203E and wild-type mice depolarized upon ghrelin exposure. The GHSR-A203E mutation did not significantly affect body weight, body length, or femur length in the first ?6 months of life, yet these parameters were lower in GHSR-A203E mice after 1 year of age. During a 7-d 60% caloric restriction regimen, GHSR-A203E mice lacked the usual marked rise in plasma GH and demonstrated an exaggerated drop in blood glucose. Administered ghrelin also exhibited reduced orexigenic and GH secretagogue efficacies in GHSR-A203E mice. CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggest that the A203E mutation ablates constitutive GHSR activity and that constitutive GHSR activity contributes to the native depolarizing conductance of GHSR-expressing arcuate NPY neurons. Although the A203E mutation does not block ghrelin-evoked signaling as assessed using in vitro and ex vivo models, GHSR-A203E mice lack the usual acute food intake response to administered ghrelin in vivo. The GHSR-A203E mutation also blunts GH release, and in aged mice leads to reduced body length and femur length, which are consistent with the short stature of human carriers of the GHSR-A204E mutation.
Project description:Interaction and cross-talk of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are of considerable interest because an increasing number of examples implicate a profound functional and physiological relevance of homo- or hetero-oligomeric GPCRs. The ghrelin (growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR)) and melanocortin-3 (MC3R) receptors are both known to have orexigenic effects on the hypothalamic control of body weight. Because in vitro studies indicate heterodimerization of GHSR and MC3R, we investigated their functional interplay. Combined in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry indicated that the vast majority of GHSR-expressing neurons in the arcuate nucleus also express MC3R. In vitro coexpression of MC3R and GHSR promoted enhanced melanocortin-induced intracellular cAMP accumulation compared with activation of MC3R in the absence of GHSR. In contrast, agonist-independent basal signaling activity and ghrelin-induced signaling of GHSR were impaired, most likely due to interaction with MC3R. By taking advantage of naturally occurring GHSR mutations and an inverse agonist for GHSR, we demonstrate that the observed enhanced MC3R signaling capability depends directly on the basal activity of GHSR. In conclusion, we demonstrate a paradigm-shifting example of GPCR heterodimerization allowing for mutually opposite functional influence of two hypothalamic receptors controlling body weight. We found that the agonist-independent active conformation of one GPCR can determine the signaling modalities of another receptor in a heterodimer. Our discovery also implies that mutations within one of two interacting receptors might affect both receptors and different pathways simultaneously. These findings uncover mechanisms of important relevance for pharmacological targeting of GPCR in general and hypothalamic body weight regulation in particular.
Project description:Growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) 1a is the only molecularly identified receptor for ghrelin, mediating ghrelin-related effects on eating, body weight, and blood glucose control, among others. The expression pattern of GHSR within the brain has been assessed previously by several neuroanatomical techniques. However, inherent limitations to these techniques and the lack of reliable anti-GHSR antibodies and reporter rodent models that identify GHSR-containing neurons have prevented a more comprehensive functional characterization of ghrelin-responsive neurons. Here we have systematically characterized the brain expression of an enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) transgene controlled by the Ghsr promoter in a recently reported GHSR reporter mouse. Expression of eGFP in coronal brain sections was compared with GHSR mRNA expression detected in the same sections by in situ hybridization histochemistry. eGFP immunoreactivity was detected in several areas, including the prefrontal cortex, insular cortex, olfactory bulb, amygdala, and hippocampus, which showed no or low GHSR mRNA expression. In contrast, eGFP expression was low in several midbrain regions and in several hypothalamic nuclei, particularly the arcuate nucleus, where robust GHSR mRNA expression has been well-characterized. eGFP expression in several brainstem nuclei showed high to moderate degrees of colocalization with GHSR mRNA labeling. Further quantitative PCR and electrophysiological analyses of eGFP-labeled hippocampal cells confirmed faithful expression of eGFP within GHSR-containing, ghrelin-responsive neurons. In summary, the GHSR-eGFP reporter mouse model may be a useful tool for studying GHSR function, particularly within the brainstem and hippocampus; however, it underrepresents GHSR expression in nuclei within the hypothalamus and midbrain.
Project description:Exercise training has several well-established health benefits, including many related to body weight, appetite control, and blood glucose homeostasis. However, the molecular mechanisms and, in particular, the hormonal systems that mediate and integrate these beneficial effects are poorly understood. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the role of the hormone ghrelin and its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR; ghrelin receptor), in mediating the effects of exercise on food intake and blood glucose following exercise as well as in regulating exercise endurance capacity.We used two mouse models of treadmill running to characterize the changes in plasma ghrelin with exercise. We also assessed the role of the ghrelin system to influence food intake and blood glucose after exercise, exercise endurance, and parameters potentially linked to responses to exercise. Mice lacking GHSRs (GHSR-null mice) and wild-type littermates were studied.An acute bout of exercise transiently elevated plasma acyl-ghrelin. Without the action of this increased ghrelin on GHSRs (as in GHSR-null mice), high intensity interval exercise markedly reduced food intake compared to control mice. The effect of exercise to acutely raise blood glucose remained unmodified in GHSR-null mice. Exercise-induced increases in plasma ghrelin positively correlated with endurance capacity, and time to exhaustion was reduced in GHSR-null mice as compared to wild-type littermates. In an effort to mechanistically explain their reduced exercise endurance, exercised GHSR-null mice exhibited an abrogated sympathoadrenal response, lower overall insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, and altered glycogen utilization.Exercise transiently increases plasma ghrelin. GHSR-null mice exhibit decreased food intake following high intensity interval exercise and decreased endurance when submitted to an exercise endurance protocol. These data suggest that an intact ghrelin system limits the capacity of exercise to restrict food intake following exercise, although it enhances exercise endurance.
Project description:The development of amphetamine dependence largely depends on the effects of amphetamine in the brain reward systems. Ghrelin, an orexigenic peptide, activates the reward systems and is required for reward induced by alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and amphetamine in mice. Human genetic studies have shown that polymorphisms in the pre-proghrelin (GHRL) as well as GHS-R1A (GHSR) genes are associated with high alcohol consumption, increased weight and smoking in males. Since the heritability factor underlying drug dependence is shared between different drugs of abuse, we here examine the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes in the GHRL and GHSR, and amphetamine dependence. GHRL and GHSR SNPs were genotyped in Swedish amphetamine dependent individuals (n?=?104) and controls from the general population (n?=?310). A case-control analysis was performed and SNPs and haplotypes were additionally tested for association against Addiction Severity Interview (ASI) composite score of drug use. The minor G-allele of the GHSR SNP rs2948694, was more common among amphetamine dependent individuals when compared to controls (pc ?=?0.02). A significant association between the GHRL SNP rs4684677 and ASI composite score of drug use was also reported (pc ?=?0.03). The haplotype analysis did not add to the information given by the individual polymorphisms. Although genetic variability of the ghrelin signalling system is not a diagnostic marker for amphetamine dependence and problem severity of drug use, the present results strengthen the notion that ghrelin and its receptor may be involved in the development of addictive behaviours and may thus serve as suitable targets for new treatments of such disorders.
Project description:Ghrelin targets the hypothalamus to regulate food intake and adiposity. Endogenous ghrelin receptors [growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR)] are also present in extrahypothalamic sites where they promote circuit activity associated with learning and memory, and reward seeking behavior. Here, we show that the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), a brain region where dopamine (DA) cell degeneration leads to Parkinson's disease (PD), expresses GHSR. Ghrelin binds to SNpc cells, electrically activates SNpc DA neurons, increases tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and increases DA concentration in the dorsal striatum. Exogenous ghrelin administration decreased SNpc DA cell loss and restricted striatal dopamine loss after 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6 tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) treatment. Genetic ablation of ghrelin or the ghrelin receptor (GHSR) increased SNpc DA cell loss and lowered striatal dopamine levels after MPTP treatment, an effect that was reversed by selective reactivation of GHSR in catecholaminergic neurons. Ghrelin-induced neuroprotection was dependent on the mitochondrial redox state via uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2)-dependent alterations in mitochondrial respiration, reactive oxygen species production, and biogenesis. Together, our data reveal that peripheral ghrelin plays an important role in the maintenance and protection of normal nigrostriatal dopamine function by activating UCP2-dependent mitochondrial mechanisms. These studies support ghrelin as a novel therapeutic strategy to combat neurodegeneration, loss of appetite and body weight associated with PD. Finally, we discuss the potential implications of these studies on the link between obesity and neurodegeneration.
Project description:The lateral parabrachial nucleus (lPBN), located in the pons, is a well-recognized anorexigenic center harboring, amongst others, the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-expressing neurons that play a key role. The receptor for the orexigenic hormone ghrelin (the growth hormone secretagogue receptor, GHSR) is also abundantly expressed in the lPBN and ghrelin delivery to this site has recently been shown to increase food intake and alter food choice. Here we sought to explore whether GHSR-expressing cells in the lPBN (GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells) contribute to feeding control, food choice and body weight gain in mice offered an obesogenic diet, involving studies in which GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells were silenced. We also explored the neurochemical identity of GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells. To silence GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells, <i>Ghsr-IRES-Cre</i> male mice were bilaterally injected intra-lPBN with a Cre-dependent viral vector expressing tetanus toxin-light chain. Unlike control wild-type littermates that significantly increased in body weight on the obesogenic diet (i.e., high-fat high-sugar free choice diet comprising chow, lard and 9% sucrose solution), the heterozygous mice with silenced GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells were resistant to diet-induced weight gain with significantly lower food intake and fat weight. The lean phenotype appeared to result from a decreased food intake compared to controls and caloric efficiency was unaltered. Additionally, silencing the GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells altered food choice, significantly reducing palatable food consumption. RNAscope and immunohistochemical studies of the lPBN revealed considerable co-expression of GHSR with glutamate and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP), and much less with neurotensin, substance P and CGRP. Thus, the GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells are important for diet-induced weight gain and adiposity, as well as in the regulation of food intake and food choice. Most GHSR <sup><i>lPBN</i></sup> cells were found to be glutamatergic and the majority (76%) do not belong to the well-characterized anorexigenic CGRP cell population.