Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rodents is an established model for studying innate immune responses to gram-negative bacteria and mimicking symptoms of infections including reduced food intake associated with decreased circulating total ghrelin levels. The ghrelin-acylating enzyme, ghrelin-O-acyltransferase (GOAT) involved in the formation of acyl ghrelin (AG) was recently identified. We investigated changes in circulating AG, desacyl ghrelin (DG) and GOAT induced by intraperitoneal LPS (100 microg/kg) and associated changes in food intake. Plasma AG and total ghrelin were assessed by radioimmunoassay, GOAT protein by Western blot and mRNA by RT-qPCR. DG was derived from total minus AG. Plasma AG and DG were decreased at 2, 5 and 7 h (p<0.01) post-injection compared to vehicle and recovered at 24 h. At 2 h there was a significantly greater decrease of AG (-53%) than DG (-28%) resulting in a decreased AG/DG ratio (1:5, p<0.01), which thereafter returned to pre-injection values (1:3). This altered ratio was associated with a 38% decrease in plasma GOAT protein compared to vehicle (p<0.001), whereas gastric GOAT protein was slightly increased by 10% (p<0.05). GOAT mRNA expression was unchanged. Food intake was reduced by 58% measured during the 1.5-2 h period post-LPS injection. Decreased plasma AG and DG preceded the rise in rectal temperature and blood glucose that peaked at 7 h. These data indicate that LPS induces a long-lasting reduction of AG and DG levels that may have a bearing with the decrease in food intake. The faster drop in AG than DG within 2 h is associated with reduced circulating GOAT.
Published by Elsevier Inc.