Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.412, No.2, 296-301, 2011
Therapeutic potential of ghrelin treatment for unloading-induced muscle atrophy in mice
Ghrelin is a growth hormone (GH) secretagogue secreted mainly from the stomach that functions in controlling muscle volume and energy homeostasis. We here studied the effects of ghrelin on unloading-induced muscle atrophy using a mouse model of hindlimb suspension (HS). Ghrelin administration during 2-week HS alleviated reductions of muscle mass in the fast-twitch fiber-rich plantaris muscle and the slow-twitch fiber-rich soleus muscle of the hindlimb. Ghrelin administration during a 5-day recovery period following 2-week HS enhanced food intake and facilitated recovery from atrophy in both muscles. Ghrelin administration normalized hypercorticosteronemia in these studies. Ghrelin's anti-muscle atrophy effect was found even under pair-feeding condition, but not in mice given des-acyl ghrelin. Insulinlike growth factor (IGF)-1 mRNA expression was significantly reduced in the atrophied plantaris muscle compared with control muscles. A single ghrelin administration to HS mice acutely increased plasma GH and also amplified phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 5 and increased IGF-1 mRNA expression in the plantaris muscle, but not in the soleus muscle. This study demonstrated that ghrelin stimulated the GH-STAT5-IGF-1 axis in the locally atrophied plantaris muscle, and its administration alleviated muscle atrophy and facilitated recovery from muscle atrophy. Ghrelin's effects represent a novel therapeutic paradigm for the treatment of unloading-induced muscle atrophy induced by factors such as bed rest, injury, and joint immobilization. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.