The composition of the plasma membrane affects the responsiveness of cells to metabolically important hormones such as insulin and vasoactive intestinal peptide. Ghrelin is a metabolically regulated hormone that activates the G protein-coupled receptor GH secretagogue receptor type 1a (GHSR) not only in the pituitary gland but also in peripheral tissues such as the pancreas, stomach, and T cells in the circulation. We have investigated the effects of lipids and altered plasma membrane composition on GHSR activation. Oligounsaturated fatty acids (OFAs) disrupt the structure of membranes and make them more fluid. Prolonged (96 h), but not acute, treatment of the GHSR cells with the 18C OFAs oleic and linoleic acid caused a significant increase in sensitivity of the receptor to ghrelin (EC50reduced by a factor of 2.4 and 2.9 at 60 and 120 μM OFAs, respectively). OFAs were found to block the inhibitory effects of ghrelin pretreatment on subsequent ghrelin responsiveness, suggesting that OFAs suppress desensitization of GHSR. Radioligand displacement studies did not show a significant shift in receptor binding after incubation with OFAs. However, it was found that OFA treatment suppressed GHSR internalization, likely explaining OFA-induced refractoriness to ligand-induced desensitization. The involvement of lipid rafts in this process was indicated by the altered responsiveness of GHSR under conditions that alter membrane cholesterol. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate the importance of membrane composition for GHSR activation and desensitization and indicate at least part of the mechanism through which OFAs and cholesterol could affect ghrelin's activity in vivo. Copyright

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ghrelin receptor fatty acids
Persistent URL,
Journal American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism
Note Free full text at PubMed
Delhanty, P.J.D, Kerkwijk, A, Huisman, M, van de Zande, B, Verhoef-Post, M, Gauna, C, … van der Lely, A-J. (2010). Unsaturated fatty acids prevent desensitization of the human growth hormone secretagogue receptor by blocking its internalization. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, 299(3). doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00414.2009