Department of Biology, Laurentian University
Investigating the role of H2S in the regulation of ghrelin secretion
Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the endocrine cells of the stomach, regulates several aspects of metabolic health, including appetite and energy storage. Recently, meals high in the amino acid cysteine have been shown to reduce ghrelin secretion. Foods rich in this amino acid also lead to increased production of the bioactive gas molecule hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S has been shown to regulate many aspects of health, including inflammation, cardiovascular health, and endocrine control. Dr Gagnon believes that ghrelin cells can metabolize cysteine to produce their own H2S, and that this H2S reduces ghrelin secretion and reduces appetite. He will first demonstrate how H2S and its precursor amino acid L-cysteine can regulate ghrelin secretion using several ghrelin producing cell models. He will then examine how this amino acid, and its gas metabolite, can suppress food intake through the suppression of ghrelin. This work will provide important information on how ghrelin and appetite is regulated by H2S and may lead to new strategies in weight management.