The ghrelin system is a key component of the mood and metabolic responses to chronic psychosocial stress. For example, circulating acyl-ghrelin rises in several rodent and human stress models, administered acyl-ghrelin induces antidepressant-like behavioral responses in mice, and mice with deleted ghrelin receptors (GHSRs) exhibit exaggerated depressive-like behaviors, changed eating behaviors, and altered metabolism in response to chronic stress. However, the mechanisms mediating stress-induced rises in ghrelin are unknown and ghrelin’s antidepressant-like efficacy in the setting of chronic stress is incompletely characterized. Here, we used a pharmacological approach in combination with a 10-day chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) model in male mice to investigate whether the sympathoadrenal system is involved in the ghrelin response to stress. We also examined the antidepressant-like efficacy of administered ghrelin and the synthetic GHSR agonist GHRP-2 during and/or after CSDS. We found that administration of the β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR) blocker atenolol during CSDS blunts the elevation of plasma acyl-ghrelin and exaggerates depressive-like behavior. Neither acute injection of acyl-ghrelin directly following CSDS nor its chronic administration during or after CSDS nor chronic delivery of GHRP-2 during and after CSDS improved stress-induced depressive-like behavior. Thus, β1ARs drive the acyl-ghrelin response to CSDS, but supplementing the natural increases in acyl-ghrelin with exogenous acyl-ghrelin or GHSR agonist does not further enhance the antidepressant-like actions of the endogenous ghrelin system in the setting of CSDS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health