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1.  Daily energy balance in growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR−/−) gene-disrupted mice is achieved through an increase in dark-phase energy efficiency 
The goal of this study was to examine factors that contribute to energy balance in female GHR −/− mice. We measured energy intake, energy expenditure (EE), fuel utilization, body mass (Mb) changes and physical activity in 17 month-old female GHR −/− mice and their age-matched wild type littermates. The GHR −/− mice were smaller, consumed more food per unit Mb, had greater EE per unit Mb and had an increase in 24-h EE/Mb that was similar to the increase in their surface-area-to-volume ratio. Locomotor activity (LMA) was reduced in the GHR −/− mice, but the energetic cost associated with their LMA was greater than in wild type controls. Furthermore, Mb and LMA were independent explanatory covariates of most of the variance in EE, and when adjusted for Mb and LMA, the GHR −/− mice had higher EE during both the light and dark phases of the daily cycle. Respiratory quotient was lower in GHR −/− mice during the light phase, which indicated a greater utilization of lipid relative to carbohydrate in these mice. Additionally, GHR −/− mice had higher ratios of caloric intake to EE at several intervals during the dark phase, and this effect was greater and more sustained in the final three hours of the dark phase. Therefore, we conclude that GHR −/− mice are able to overcome the substantial energetic challenges of dwarfism through several mechanisms that promote stable Mb. Relative to wild type mice, the GHR −/− mice consumed more calories per unit Mb, which offset the disproportionate increase in their daily energy expenditure. While GHR −/− mice oxidized a greater proportion of lipid during the light phase in order to meet their energy requirements, they achieved greater energy efficiency and storage during the dark phase through a combination of higher energy consumption and lower LMA.
PMCID: PMC2814926  PMID: 19747867
2.  Characterization of the insulin sensitivity of ghrelin receptor KO mice using glycemic clamps 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:1.
We and others have demonstrated previously that ghrelin receptor (GhrR) knock out (KO) mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) have increased insulin sensitivity and metabolic flexibility relative to WT littermates. A striking feature of the HFD-fed GhrR KO mouse is the dramatic decrease in hepatic steatosis. To characterize further the underlying mechanisms of glucose homeostasis in GhrR KO mice, we conducted both hyperglycemic (HG) and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (HI-E) clamps. Additionally, we investigated tissue glucose uptake and specifically examined liver insulin sensitivity.
Consistent with glucose tolerance-test data, in HG clamp experiments, GhrR KO mice showed a reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin release relative to WT littermates. Nevertheless, a robust 1st phase insulin secretion was still achieved, indicating that a healthy β-cell response is maintained. Additionally, GhrR KO mice demonstrated both a significantly increased glucose infusion rate and significantly reduced insulin requirement for maintenance of the HG clamp, consistent with their relative insulin sensitivity. In HI-E clamps, both LFD-fed and HFD-fed GhrR KO mice showed higher peripheral insulin sensitivity relative to WT littermates as indicated by a significant increase in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal (Rd), and decreased hepatic glucose production (HGP). HFD-fed GhrR KO mice showed a marked increase in peripheral tissue glucose uptake in a variety of tissues, including skeletal muscle, brown adipose tissue and white adipose tissue. GhrR KO mice fed a HFD also showed a modest, but significant decrease in conversion of pyruvate to glucose, as would be anticipated if these mice displayed increased liver insulin sensitivity. Additionally, the levels of UCP2 and UCP1 were reduced in the liver and BAT, respectively, in GhrR KO mice relative to WT mice.
These results indicate that improved glucose homeostasis of GhrR KO mice is characterized by robust improvements of glucose disposal in both normal and metabolically challenged states, relative to WT controls. GhrR KO mice have an intact 1st phase insulin response but require significantly less insulin for glucose disposal. Our experiments reveal that the insulin sensitivity of GhrR KO mice is due to both BW independent and dependent factors. We also provide several lines of evidence that a key feature of the GhrR KO mouse is maintenance of hepatic insulin sensitivity during metabolic challenge.
PMCID: PMC3024223  PMID: 21211044

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