Ghrelin accelerates the growth and osteogenic differentiation of rabbit mesenchymal stem cells through the ERK1/2 pathway

BMC Biotechnol. 2015 Jun 9:15:51. doi: 10.1186/s12896-015-0176-2.


Background: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into chondroblasts, adipocytes, or osteoblasts under appropriate stimulation. Ghrelin, an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR), stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion, and has both orexigenic and adipogenic effects. This study sought to understand the potential involvement of members of MAPK serine/threonine kinases in the ghrelin-induced growth of rabbit MSCs ( rBMSC).

Methods: We applied various concentrations of ghrelin to cultured rBMSC and observed the growth rate of the cells by MTT, changes in the phosphorylation state of ERK1/2, JNK and p38, and the expression levels of ALP, Runx2, and Osterix by wetern blot.

Results: We found that the growth and osteogenic differentiation of ghrelin-treated rBMSC are promoted primarily by phosphorylated ERK1/2, and that this phosphorylation, as well p38 phosphorylation, is mediated by GHSR.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that ghrelin promotes the growth and osteogenic differentiation of rBMSC primarily through the ERK1/2 pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ghrelin / metabolism*
  • Ghrelin / pharmacology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Ghrelin / genetics
  • Receptors, Ghrelin / metabolism


  • Ghrelin
  • Receptors, Ghrelin