Protective Effects of Ghrelin on Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in the Isolated Rat Heart

Lin Chang, Yongsheng Ren, Xiuhua Liu, Wei Gen Li, Jinghui Yang, Bin Geng, Neal L. Weintraub, Chaoshu Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Ghrelin, an endogenous ligand of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor, has been reported to have beneficial effects on cardiac function. The authors used the Langendorff model of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in isolated rat heart to determine whether ghrelin exerts direct cardioprotective effects. Also, the capacity of ghrelin to bind to sarcolemmal membrane fractions before and after ischemia and reperfusion was examined. Compared with vehicle administration, administration of ghrelin (100-10,000 pM) during the reperfusion period resulted in improvement in coronary flow, heart rate, left ventricular systolic pressure, and left ventricular end-diastolic pressure. Ghrelin also enhanced the rates of left ventricular contraction and relaxation after ischemia following reperfusion. Administration of ghrelin during reperfusion reduced myocardial release of lactate dehydrogenase and myoglobin, indicating protection against cardiomyocyte injury. In addition, ghrelin attenuated the depletion of myocardial ATP resulting from ischemia and reperfusion. A receptor-binding assay demonstrated that maximum binding capacity of ghrelin to sarcolemmal membranes was significantly increased after ischemia and was further increased after I/R. However, Scatchard analysis showed that the affinity of ghrelin for its receptor was not altered. The authors have concluded that administration of ghrelin during reperfusion protects against myocardial I/R injury. The cardioprotective effects are independent of growth hormone release and likely involve binding to cardiovascular receptors, a process that is upregulated during I/R.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ghrelin
  • Ghrelin receptor
  • Heart
  • Ischemia/reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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