Ghrelin is a gut-derived peptide that plays a role in energy homeostasis. Recent studies have implicated ghrelin in systemic inflammation, showing increased plasma ghrelin levels after endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) administration. The aims of this study were (1) to test the hypothesis that ghrelin administration affects LPS-induced fever; and (2) to assess the putative effects of ghrelin on plasma corticosterone secretion and preoptic region prostaglandin (PG) E(2) levels in euthermic and febrile rats. Rats were implanted with a temperature datalogger capsule in the peritoneal cavity to record body core temperature. One week later, they were challenged with LPS (50μg/kg, intraperitoneal, i.p.) alone or combined with ghrelin (0.1mg/kg, i.p.). In another group of rats, plasma corticosterone and preoptic region PGE(2) levels were measured 2h after injections. In euthermic animals, systemic administration of ghrelin failed to elicit any thermoregulatory effect, and caused no significant changes in basal plasma corticosterone and preoptic region PGE(2) levels. LPS caused a typical febrile response, accompanied by increased plasma corticosterone and preoptic PGE(2) levels. When LPS administration was combined with ghrelin fever was attenuated, corticosterone secretion further increased, and the elevated preoptic PGE(2) levels were relatively reduced, but a correlation between these two variables (corticosterone and PGE(2)) failed to exist. The present data add ghrelin to the neurochemical milieu controlling the immune/thermoregulatory system acting as an antipyretic molecule. Moreover, our findings also support the notion that ghrelin attenuates fever by means of a direct effect of the peptide reducing PGE(2) production in the preoptic region.
Soriano RN, Nicoli LG, Carnio EC, Branco LG. Exogenous ghrelin attenuates endotoxin fever in rats. Peptides. 2011 March Nursing School of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.