The gut hormones ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) have been intensively studied for their role in metabolism. It is, however, not well known whether the hormones interplay and regulate the secretion of each other. In this study, we studied the effect of ghrelin on GLP-1, GIP, and insulin secretion during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in mice. Intravenous administration of ghrelin caused increased GLP-1 secretion during the OGTT. On the other hand, ghrelin had no effect on circulating levels of glucose, insulin, and GIP. Furthermore, ghrelin treatment reduced proglucagon mRNA expression in GLUTag cells. The effect of ghrelin on GLP-1 secretion and proglucagon transcription was reinforced by the presence of GHS-R1a in human and mouse ileal L-cells, as well as in GLUTag cells. In summary, ghrelin is a regulator of GLP-1 secretion and transcription, and interfering with GHS-R1a signaling may be a way forward to enhance endogenous GLP-1 secretion in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: GHS-R1a; GLUTag cells; ghrelin; glucagon-like peptide 1; oral glucose tolerance test.