Long-term infusion of nutrients (total parenteral nutrition) suppresses circulating ghrelin in food-deprived rats.
S Albert Salehi
Summary, in English
Background: Ghrelin derives from endocrine cells (A-like cells) in the stomach (mainly the oxyntic mucosa). Its concentration in the circulation increases during fasting and decreases upon re-feeding. This has fostered the notion that the absence of food in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract stimulates the secretion of ghrelin. The purpose of the present study was to determine the concentration of ghrelin in serum and oxyntic mucosa after replacing food with intravenous (iv) infusion of nutrients for 8 days using the technique known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Materials and methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats (200-250 g) were given nutrients (lipids, glucose, amino acids, minerals and vitamins) by iv infusion for 8 days during which time they were deprived of food and water; another group was deprived of food for 24-48 h (fasted controls), while fed controls had free access to food and water. Serum ghrelin, gastrin and pancreastatin concentrations were measured together with the ghrelin content of the oxyntic mucosa. Plasma insulin and glucose as well as serum lipid concentrations were also determined. Results: Fasted rats had higher serum ghrelin than TPN rats and fed controls. The oxyntic mucosal ghrelin concentration (and content) was lower in TPN rats than in fasted rats or fed controls. The serum gastrin and pancreastatin concentrations were lower in TPN rats and fasted rats than in fed controls. The plasma insulin concentration was 87 pmol/l +/- 8 (SEM) in TPN rats compared to 101 16 pmol/l in fed controls; it was 26 14 pmol/l in fasted rats. The basal plasma glucose level was 11 +/- 0.6 mmol/l in TPN rats and 12 +/- 0.8 mmol/l in fed controls; it was 7 +/- 0.3 mmol/l in fasted rats. In TPN rats, the serum concentrations of free fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterol were increased by 100%, 50% and 25%, respectively, compared to fed controls. Fasted rats had higher circulating concentrations of free fatty acids (20%) and lower concentrations of triglycerides (- 40%) than fed controls; fasted rats did not differ from fed controls with respect to serum cholesterol. Conclusion: The circulating ghrelin concentration is high in situations of nutritional deficiency (starvation) and low in situations of nutritional plenty (free access to food or TPN). The actual presence or absence of food in the GI tract seems irrelevant. Circulating insulin and glucose concentrations did not differ much between TPN rats and fed controls, serum lipids, however, were elevated in the TPN rats. We suggest that elevated blood lipid levels contribute to the suppression of circulating ghrelin in rats subjected to TPN for 8 days.