The effect of energy balance on the growth hormone (GH) secretory responsiveness to growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) has not been determined in ruminant animals. Therefore, we examined the effects of intravenous injections of 0, 3.3, and 6.6 μg ghrelin/kg body weight (BW), with and without GHRH at 0.25 μg/kg BW, on GH secretory responsiveness in both the fed and fasted sheep. The injections were carried out at 48 h (Fasting state) and 3 h (Satiety state) after feeding. Blood samples were taken every 10 minutes, from 30 minutes before to 120 minutes after the injection. Low (3.3 μg/kg BW) and high (6.6 μg/kg BW) doses of ghrelin stimulated GH secretion significantly (P < .05) greater in the Satiety state than in the Fasting state. Growth hormone-releasing hormone plus both doses of ghrelin stimulated GH secretion significantly (P < .05) greater in the Satiety state than in the Fasting state. Ghrelin and GHRH exerted a synergistic effect in the Satiety state, but not in the Fasting state. Plasma ghrelin levels were maintained significantly (P < .05) greater in the Fasting state than in the Satiety state except the temporal increases after ghrelin administration. Plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations were significantly (P < .01) greater in the Fasting state than in the Satiety state. In conclusion, the present study has demonstrated for the first time that ghrelin differentially modulates GH secretory response to GHRH according to feeding states in ruminant animals.
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