Ghrelin, a novel growth-hormone-releasing peptide, was discovered in rat and human stomach tissues. However, its physiological and pharmacological actions in the gastric function remain to be determined. Therefore, we studied the effects of rat ghrelin on gastric functions in urethane-anesthetized rats. Intravenous administrations of rat ghrelin at 0.8 to 20 microgram/kg dose-dependently increased not only gastric acid secretion measured by a lumen-perfused method, but also gastric motility measured by a miniature balloon method. The maximum response in gastric acid secretion was almost equipotent to that of histamine (3 mg/kg, i.v.). Moreover, these actions were abolished by pretreatment with either atropine (1 mg/kg, s.c.) or bilateral cervical vagotomy, but not by a histamine H(2)-receptor antagonist (famotidine, 1 mg/kg, s.c.). These results taken together suggest that ghrelin may play a physiological role in the vagal control of gastric function in rats.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.