Ghrelin increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration in the various hormone-producing cell types of the rat pituitary gland

Mami Yamazaki, Sayaka Aizawa, Toru Tanaka, Takafumi Sakai, Ichiro Sakata

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Ghrelin, isolated from the stomach as an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), has potent growth hormone release ability in vivo and in vitro. Although GHS-R is abundantly expressed in the pituitary gland, there is no direct evidence of a relationship between hormone-producing cells and functional GHS-R in the pituitary gland. The aim of this study was to determine which anterior pituitary cells respond to ghrelin stimulation in male rats. We performed Fura-2 Ca2+ imaging analysis using isolated pituitary cells, and performed immunocytochemistry to identify the type of pituitary hormone-producing cells. In Fura-2 Ca2+ imaging analysis, ghrelin administration increased the intracellular Ca2+ concentration in approximately 50% of total isolated anterior pituitary cells, and 20% of these cells strongly responded to ghrelin. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that 82.9±1.3% of cells that responded to ghrelin stimulation were GH-immunopositive. On the other hand, PRL-, LH-, and ACTH-immunopositive cells constituted 2.0±0.3%, 12.6±0.3%, and 2.5±0.8% of ghrelin-responding pituitary cells, respectively. TSH-immunopositive cells did not respond to ghrelin treatment. These results suggest that ghrelin directly acts not only on somatotrophs, but also on mammotrophs, gonadotrophs, and corticotrophs in the rat pituitary gland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-32
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 20 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ca imaging
  • Ghrelin
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Isolated pituitary cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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