Antidepressant effect

Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fundus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates appetite.[1] Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals.

A study appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience (June 15, 2008 online) suggests that the hormone might help defend against symptoms of stress-induced depression and anxiety.[23] To test whether ghrelin could regulate depressive symptoms brought on by chronic stress, the researchers subjected mice to daily bouts of social stress, using a standard laboratory technique that induces stress by exposing normal mice to very aggressive “bully” mice. Such animals have been shown to be good models for studying depression in humans. The researchers stressed both wild-type mice and altered mice that were unable to respond to ghrelin. They found that after experiencing stress, both types of mice had significantly elevated levels of ghrelin that persisted at least four weeks after their last defeat encounter. The altered mice, however, displayed significantly greater social avoidance than their wild-type counterparts, indicating an exacerbation of depression-like symptoms. They also ate less than the wild-type mice.

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