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Ghrelin induces leptin resistance by activation of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 expression in male rats: implications in satiety regulation.

Endocrinology (2014-07-26)
Andrea Heldsinger, Gintautas Grabauskas, Xiaoyin Wu, ShiYi Zhou, Yuanxu Lu, Il Song, Chung Owyang
ABSTRACT

The anorexigenic adipocyte-derived hormone leptin and the orexigenic hormone ghrelin act in opposition to regulate feeding behavior via the vagal afferent pathways. The mechanisms by which ghrelin exerts its inhibitory effects on leptin are unknown. We hypothesized that ghrelin activates the exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac), inducing increased SOCS3 expression, which negatively affects leptin signal transduction and neuronal firing in nodose ganglia (NG) neurons. We showed that 91 ± 3% of leptin receptor (LRb) -bearing neurons contained ghrelin receptors (GHS-R1a) and that ghrelin significantly inhibited leptin-stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation in rat NG neurons. Studies of the signaling cascades used by ghrelin showed that ghrelin caused a significant increase in Epac and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) expression in cultured rat NG neurons. Transient transfection of cultured NG neurons to silence SOCS3 and Epac genes reversed the inhibitory effects of ghrelin on leptin-stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation. Patch-clamp studies and recordings of single neuronal discharges of vagal primary afferent neurons showed that ghrelin markedly inhibited leptin-stimulated neuronal firing, an action abolished by silencing SOCS3 expression in NG. Plasma ghrelin levels increased significantly during fasting. This was accompanied by enhanced SOCS3 expression in the NG and prevented by treatment with a ghrelin antagonist. Feeding studies showed that silencing SOCS3 expression in the NG reduced food intake evoked by endogenous leptin. We conclude that ghrelin exerts its inhibitory effects on leptin-stimulated neuronal firing by increasing SOCS3 expression. The SOCS3 signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in ghrelin's inhibitory effect on STAT3 phosphorylation, neuronal firing, and feeding behavior.

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