Ghrelin is an orexigenic peptide secreted from the stomach and also made in the brain. Ghrelin receptors are expressed on hypothalamic cells important in appetite and energy balance. We determined that intra-3rd-ventricular (i3vt) ghrelin dose-dependently increases acute (1 and 2 h) food intake in lean and fatty Zucker rats (0, 0.01, 0.1 and 1.0 nmol ghrelin). The percentage increase of food intake in fatty Zucker rats was significantly greater than that in lean rats. Fatty Zucker rats had 4.5 times more ghrelin receptor mRNA in the hypothalamus than lean Zucker rats, suggesting a possible mechanism for the increased sensitivity.
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