Ghrelin is a multifunctional peptide that promotes an increase of food intake and stimulates GH secretion. Ghrelin secretion is regulated by nutritional status and nutrients. Although a high-protein (HP) diet increases plasma ghrelin secretion in mammals, the mechanisms and the roles of the elevated ghrelin concentrations due to a HP diet have not been fully established. To clarify the roles of elevated acylated ghrelin upon intake of a HP diet, we investigated the regulation of ghrelin concentrations in plasma and tissues in wethers fed with either the HP diet or the control (CNT) diet for 14 days, and examined the action of the elevated plasma ghrelin by using a ghrelin-receptor antagonist. The HP diet gradually increased the plasma acylated-ghrelin concentrations, but the CNT diet did not. Although the GH concentrations did not vary significantly across the groups, an injection of ghrelinreceptor antagonist enhanced insulin levels in circulation in the HP diet group. In the fundus region of the stomach, the ghrelin levels did not differ between the HP and CNT diet groups, whereas ghrelin O-acyltransferase mRNA levels were higher in the group fed with HP diet than those of the CNT diet group were. These results indicate that the HP diet elevated the plasma ghrelin levels by increasing its synthesis; this elevation strongly suppresses the appearance of insulin in the circulation of wethers, but it is not involved in GH secretion. Overall, our findings indicate a role of endogenous ghrelin action in secretion of insulin, which acts as a regulator after the consumption of a HP diet.
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