High gastrin cell activity and low ghrelin cell activity in high-anxiety Wistar Kyoto rats

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Ghrelin is produced by gastric A-like cells and released in response to food deprivation. Interestingly, psychological stress also raises circulating ghrelin levels. This study compared plasma ghrelin levels in Sprague-Dawley (SPD) rats and high-anxiety Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats. The two strains were also compared with respect to plasma gastrin, a gastric hormone with a pre- and postprandial release pattern opposite to that of ghrelin, and to the activity of the gastrin-dependent, histamine-forming ECL cells in the gastric mucosa. The rats were killed after being freely fed or after an over-night fast. The stomachs were weighed and tissue samples were collected for histological and biochemical analysis. Plasma ghrelin and gastrin levels were determined by RIA. While fasted SPD rats had higher plasma ghrelin levels than fasted WKY rats (P<0 center dot 001), plasma ghrelin did not differ between freely fed rats of the two strains. Gastrin levels were higher in fed WKY rats than in fed SPD rats (P< 0 center dot 001). Despite the higher plasma gastrin level, the oxyntic mucosal histidine decarboxylase (HDC) activity (a marker of ECL-cell activity) in fed rats and the mucosal thickness did not differ between the two strains. In a subsequent study, rats were subjected to water-avoidance stress for 60 min, causing plasma gastrin to increase in WKY rats (P<0 center dot 001) but not in SPD rats. In conclusion, high-anxiety WKY rats had lower circulating ghrelin and higher gastrin than SPD rats in both the fasted and fed state, while the ECL-cell activity (HDC activity) was only moderately affected.


  • Elin Sand
  • Monika Sundqvist
  • Rolf Håkanson
  • Erik Lindstrom
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-250
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch