Diurnal rhythms of leptin and ghrelin in the systemic circulation and in the gastric mucosa are related to food intake in rats
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Sánchez, J., Oliver, P., Picó, C. et al. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2004) 448: 500. doi:10.1007/s00424-004-1283-4
- 326 Downloads
We investigated diurnal changes in leptin and ghrelin levels in the stomach and in the systemic circulation and their relation to food intake rhythms in Wistar rats housed at 22 °C with a 12-h light/dark cycle and free access to food and water. Animals were sacrificed every 3 h over a 24-h period. Leptin and ghrelin levels in serum and in the gastric mucosa were analysed by immunoassay. Leptin mRNA levels were determined in the gastric mucosa by RT-PCR and in different adipose tissue depots (epididymal, retroperitoneal and mesenteric) by Northern blot. Ghrelin mRNA levels were determined by Northern blot. Gastric and serum leptin levels displayed similar diurnal rhythms, rising during the dark phase and decreasing gradually during the light phase. Leptin expression in the different adipose tissue depots correlated positively with circulating leptin levels (P<0.05), although there were some depot-associated differences. Leptin mRNA levels in the mesenteric depot correlated positively with food intake (P<0.05). In blood, ghrelin levels rose sharply just before the onset of the dark phase and dropped suddenly just after. In the stomach, ghrelin levels were high during the fasting period of light and low during the night, and correlated inversely with food intake, gastric contents and serum leptin levels (P<0.05). Leptin and ghrelin in the stomach and in the systemic circulation thus show diurnal variations that are influenced by food intake rhythms. The results agree with a role for ghrelin as a stimulant of meal initiation.