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Appetite Hormone May Affect Peripheral Fat Metabolism

Last Updated: October 05, 2009.

When administered directly into the brain, the appetite hormone ghrelin regulates peripheral fat metabolism largely independently of growth hormone, according to a study in the October issue of Endocrinology.

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- When administered directly into the brain, the appetite hormone ghrelin regulates peripheral fat metabolism largely independently of growth hormone, according to a study in the October issue of Endocrinology.

Noting that both growth hormone and ghrelin regulate lipid metabolism and that ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormone, Susana Sangiao-Alvarellos, Ph.D., from the University of A Coruña in Spain, and colleagues investigated the role of ghrelin independently of growth hormone by central administration (intracerebroventricular) of ghrelin in rats deficient in growth hormone (the dwarf rat), which have increased body fat.

The researchers found that ghrelin promoted lipogenesis in white adipose tissue and liver in a largely growth hormone-independent manner by increasing the levels and activity of enzymes involved in fatty acid metabolism. Ghrelin also induced changes in lipid oxidation in a growth hormone-independent manner in fat and in a growth hormone-dependent manner in the liver.

"These findings suggest the existence of a new central nervous system-based neuroendocrine circuit, regulating metabolic homeostasis of adipose tissue," Sangiao-Alvarellos and colleagues conclude. "We propose that ghrelin favors energy stores to minimize negative effects in periods of food scarcity."

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