(HealthDay News) — Neuronal growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R) is involved in regulating energy metabolism, according to an experimental study published in Diabetes.

In an effort to understand the roles of neuronal GHS-R, Jong Han Lee, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues used Synapsin 1-Cre driver to generate a mouse line where Ghsr gene is deleted in all neurons.

The researchers found that neuronal deletion of Ghsr abolished ghrelin-induced spontaneous food intake, with no impact on total energy intake. Neuronal Ghsr deletion almost totally prevented diet-induced obesity and correlated with a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. 

Improved metabolic flexibility was seen for mice with neuronal Ghsr deletion. Gene expression analysis indicated that the hypothalamus and/or midbrain may be responsible for mediating the effects of GHS-R on thermogenesis and physical activity, respectively.

“Collectively, our results indicate that neuronal GHS-R is a crucial regulator of energy metabolism and a key mediator of diet-induced obesity. Neuronal Ghsr deletion protects against diet-induced obesity by regulating energy expenditure, not by energy intake,” the researchers wrote. “These novel findings suggest that suppressing central ghrelin signaling may serve as a unique anti-obesity strategy.”


  1. Lee JH, Lin L, Xu P, et al. Neuronal deletion of ghrelin receptor almost completely prevents diet-induced obesity. Diabetes. 2016. doi:10.2337/db15-1587.