Author(s): Fujitsuka N, Asakawa A, Uezono Y, Minami K, Yamaguchi T,
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Abstract Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome is characterized by decreased food intake, weight loss, muscle tissue wasting and psychological distress, and this syndrome is a major source of increased morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. This study aimed to clarify the gut-brain peptides involved in the pathogenesis of the syndrome and determine effective treatment for cancer anorexia-cachexia. We show that both ghrelin insufficiency and resistance were observed in tumor-bearing rats. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) decreased the plasma level of acyl ghrelin, and its receptor antagonist, α-helical CRF, increased food intake of these rats. The serotonin 2c receptor (5-HT2cR) antagonist SB242084 decreased hypothalamic CRF level and improved anorexia, gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility and body weight loss. The ghrelin receptor antagonist (D-Lys3)-GHRP-6 worsened anorexia and hastened death in tumor-bearing rats. Ghrelin attenuated anorexia-cachexia in the short term, but failed to prolong survival, as did SB242084 administration. In addition, the herbal medicine rikkunshito improved anorexia, GI dysmotility, muscle wasting, and anxiety-related behavior and prolonged survival in animals and patients with cancer. The appetite-stimulating effect of rikkunshito was blocked by (D-Lys3)-GHRP-6. Active components of rikkunshito, hesperidin and atractylodin, potentiated ghrelin secretion and receptor signaling, respectively, and atractylodin prolonged survival in tumor-bearing rats. Our study demonstrates that the integrated mechanism underlying cancer anorexia-cachexia involves lowered ghrelin signaling due to excessive hypothalamic interactions of 5-HT with CRF through the 5-HT2cR. Potentiation of ghrelin receptor signaling may be an attractive treatment for anorexia, muscle wasting and prolong survival in patients with cancer anorexia-cachexia.
This article was published in Transl Psychiatry
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics