Growth hormone secretagogue receptor expression in the cells of the stomach-projected afferent nerve in the rat nodose ganglion

Neurosci Lett. 2003 May 22;342(3):183-6. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(03)00294-5.


Growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R) is widely expressed in various regions of the body, such as the brain, pituitary gland, heart and gastrointestinal tract. Recently, ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for GHS-R, was found in the rat stomach, and several studies have suggested that ghrelin acts via the vagal afferent nerve. In this study, we studied the expression of GHS-R mRNA in the rat nodose ganglion by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization, the results of which clearly demonstrated the presence of GHS-R mRNA and GHS-R producing cells in the rat nodose ganglion. We also studied the retrograde tracing of nodose ganglion cells to the stomach and found that some GHS-R mRNA-expressing cells contain the retrograde rebelling. Our results provide direct morphological evidence that GHS-R is produced in afferent neurons of the nodose ganglion and suggest that ghrelin signals from the stomach are transmitted to the brain via vagal afferent nerves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • Male
  • Nodose Ganglion / cytology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled*
  • Receptors, Ghrelin
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Stomach / cytology
  • Stomach / innervation*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Ghrelin