Background & aims: Gastric emptying plays an important role in regulating food intake. This study was designed to investigate whether intraperitoneally injected urocortin reduces gastric emptying, feeding, and body weight in lean and ob/ob obese mice.
Methods: Food intake and body weight were measured after intraperitoneal injections of one of the following: urocortin, deamidated form of urocortin (urocortin OH), corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), CRF6-33, cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8), and leptin in 16-hour food-deprived animals. Gastric emptying was assessed 2, 4, or 8 hours after intraperitoneal injection. Repeated injections of urocortin were continued for 5 days in ob/ob mice.
Results: Urocortin (0.003-3 nmol) dose-dependently and potently decreased food intake and body weight gain in lean mice. The ranking order of potency was urocortin > urocortin OH >/= CRF > CCK-8 > CRF6-33 > leptin. Gastric emptying was also potently reduced by urocortin with a similar ranking order of potency of urocortin > CRF > urocortin OH > CCK-8. Simultaneous administration of urocortin and CRF receptor antagonist, alpha-helical CRF9-41, blocked the effects of urocortin. Urocortin reduced food intake and body weight gain, as well as the rate of gastric emptying, in ob/ob mice, which was significantly faster than that of lean mice. Five daily injections of urocortin significantly lowered body weight and improved glycemic control in ob/ob mice.
Conclusions: The urocortin-induced decrease in food intake and body weight in lean and ob/ob mice is closely related to gastric emptying and opens new possibilities for the treatment of obesity.