Horm Metab Res 2009; 41(11): 814-821
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1233462
Original Basic

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Expression of Ghrelin and its Receptor in Human Tissues

B. Ueberberg1 , N. Unger1 , W. Saeger2 , K. Mann1 , S. Petersenn1
  • 1Department of Endocrinology and Division of Laboratory Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  • 2Institute of Pathology, Marienhospital, Hamburg, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

received 20.03.2008

accepted 22.06.2009

Publication Date:
10 August 2009 (online)


Ghrelin is a peptide thought to be involved in the regulation of appetite. Furthermore, significant effects on the release of growth hormone (GH) and ACTH were demonstrated. Contributing to the physiological relevance of this hormone, we investigated the expression of ghrelin and its receptor (GHS-R) in several normal human tissues. RNA samples (BD Biosciences) underwent one-step TaqMan Real-Time RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin-embedded tissues using specific primary antibodies against ghrelin and its receptor. Relevant ghrelin mRNA levels were detected in all human tissues with the highest levels in stomach, pituitary, and small intestine. By immunohistochemistry, ghrelin peptide expression was detectable in reproductive and endocrine organs (ovary, anterior pituitary, adrenal gland), and organs of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, pancreas). GHS-R1a mRNA expression was demonstrated in 10 of 24 human organs analyzed with the highest levels in pituitary, adrenal gland, and spinal cord. Expression of the receptor peptide was detected by immunohistochemistry in endocrine and reproductive organs (anterior pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, testis), parts of the CNS (cerebrum, cerebellum), and in single cells of bone marrow. Expression of both ghrelin and its receptor in endocrine and reproductive organs may indicate new endocrine or paracrine mechanisms of regulation in these tissues.



Prof. Dr. med. S. Petersenn

Department of Endocrinology and Division of Laboratory Research

University of Duisburg-Essen

Hufelandstr. 55

45122 Essen

Phone: +49 201 723 2854

Fax: +49 201 723 5976

Email: [email protected]