Food deprivation in the rat is associated with a reduction in serum GH levels characterized by suppression of high amplitude GH bursts and a decrease in the duration of secretory episodes. The mechanism(s) mediating this response is unknown. The present studies were designed to evaluate the role of hypothalamic factors potentially responsible for abnormal GH dynamics in food-deprived rats by measuring hypothalamic prepro-GH-releasing factor (GRF) and preprosomatostatin (SRIF) mRNA and peptide levels in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats after 72 h of food deprivation or free access to food. Hypothalamic prepro-GRF mRNA was reduced 80% in food-deprived rats compared to that in fed controls (P < 0.001), while GRF content was unchanged. Levels of prepro-SRIF mRNA in food-deprived rats were similar to those in controls, as was hypothalamic SRIF content. The time course of hypothalamic prepro-GRF mRNA reduction was determined in groups of rats food-deprived for 24, 48, or 72 h and revealed a significant (30%) reduction of prepro-GRF mRNA (P < 0.05 vs. fed) by 24 h, with maximal reduction (80%) by 48 h. Refeeding groups of animals for up to 72 h after they had been food-deprived for 72 h resulted in restoration of prepro-GRF mRNA levels to 50% of control levels by 24 h (P < 0.05 vs. fed) and a return to control values by 48 h. These data suggest that decreased GRF gene expression and possibly GRF release play a major role in the loss of pulsatile GH secretion seen in this model of nutrient deprivation.
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|Published - Nov 1990