|Age-dependent decrease in the ghrelin gene expression in the human adrenal cortex: A real-time PCR study|
Authors: Gianni Carraro, Giovanna Albertin, Francesco Aragona, Myriam Forneris, Valentina Casale, Raffaella Spinazzi, Gastone G. Nussdorfer
Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Section of Anatomy, University of Padua, I-35121 Padua, Italy
Numerous lines of evidence indicate that ghrelin, an endogenous ligand of the growth hormone-secretagogue receptor, is expressed in the human and rat adrenal cortex. In this study, we examined whether ghrelin gene expression undergoes changes in the human adrenal cortex during aging. Semi-quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated a highly significant negative correlation between ghrelin mRNA and age in adrenal cortexes of 27 patients (aged from 33 to 82 years), who underwent unilateral adrenalectomy/nephrectomy for kidney cancer. No significant differences in the level of adrenal ghrelin expression were observed between males and females. Since it has been previously shown that ghrelin exerts a marked growth-stimulating action on cultured adrenocortical cells, we hypothesize that the down-regulation of ghrelin gene transcription in adrenals could be associated with the reported decrease in adrenal DNA synthesis and mitogenic activity during aging.