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Yi, Chun-Xia; Heppner, Kristy M.; Kirchner, Henriette; Tong, Jenny; Bielohuby, Maximilian; Gaylinn, Bruce D.; Müller, Timo D.; Bartley, Erin; Davis, Harold W.; Zhao, Yongmei; Joseph, Anupama; Kruthaupt, Traci; Ottaway, Nickki; Kabra, Dhiraj; Habegger, Kirk M; Benoit, Stephen C.; Bidlingmaier, Martin; Thorner, Michael O.; Perez-Tilve, Diego; Tschöp, Matthias H.; Pfluger, Paul T. (2012): The GOAT-ghrelin system is not essential for hypoglycemia prevention during prolonged calorie restriction.
In: PLOS ONE 7(2), e32100


Ghrelin acylation by ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) has recently been reported to be essential for the prevention of hypoglycemia during prolonged negative energy balance. Using a unique set of four different genetic loss-of-function models for the GOAT/ghrelin/growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) system, we thoroughly tested the hypothesis that lack-of-ghrelin activation or signaling would lead to hypoglycemia during caloric deprivation. Male and female knockout (KO) mice for GOAT, ghrelin, GHSR, or both ghrelin and GHSR (dKO) were subjected to prolonged calorie restriction (40% of ad libitum chow intake). Body weight, fat mass, and glucose levels were recorded daily and compared to wildtype (WT) controls. Forty-eight hour blood glucose profiles were generated for each individual mouse when 2% or less body fat mass was reached. Blood samples were obtained for analysis of circulating levels of acyl- and desacyl-ghrelin, IGF-1, and insulin. Chronic calorie restriction progressively decreased body weight and body fat mass in all mice regardless of genotype. When fat mass was depleted to 2% or less of body weight for 2 consecutive days, random hypoglycemic events occurred in some mice across all genotypes. There was no increase in the incidence of hypoglycemia in any of the four loss-of-function models for ghrelin signaling including GOAT KO mice. Furthermore, no differences in insulin or IGF-1 levels were observed between genotypes. The endogenous GOAT-ghrelin-GHSR system is not essential for the maintenance of euglycemia during prolonged calorie restriction.