Ghrelin is a brain-gut peptide hormone widely known for its orexigenic and growth hormone-releasing activities. Findings from our and other laboratories indicate a role of ghrelin in sleep regulation. The effects of exogenous ghrelin on sleep-wake activity in mice are, however, unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine the sleep-modulating effects of ghrelin after central and systemic administrations in mice. Sleep-wake activity after intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of 0.2, 1 and 5 μg ghrelin and intraperitoneal injections of 40, 100, and 400 μg/kg ghrelin prior to light onset were determined in C57BL/6 mice. In addition, body temperature, motor activity and 1-hour food intake was measured after the systemic injections. Sleep effects of systemic ghrelin (40 and 400 μg/kg) injected before dark onset were also determined. Icv injection of ghrelin increased wakefulness and suppressed non-rapid-eye-movement sleep and electroencephalographic slow-wave activity in the first hour after injections. Rapid-eye-movement sleep was decreased for 2-4 hours after each dose of ghrelin. Sytemic administration of ghrelin did not induce changes in sleep-wake activity in mice at dark or light onset. Motor activity and body temperature remained unaltered and food intake was significantly increased after systemic injections of ghrelin given prior the light period. These findings indicate that the activation of central, but not peripheral, ghrelin-sensitive mechanisms elicits arousal in mice. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the activation of the hypothalamic neuronal circuit formed by ghrelin, orexin, and neuropeptide Y neurons triggers behavioral sequence characterized by increased wakefulness, motor activity and feeding in nocturnal rodents. © 2012 Éva Szentirmai.
Szentirmai, É. (2012). Central but not systemic administration of ghrelin induces wakefulness in mice. PLoS ONE, 7(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041172