The protective role of human ghrelin in sepsis: Restoration of CD4 T cell proliferation

Mian Zhou, Monowar Aziz, Manhendar Ochani, Weng Lang Yang, Archna Sharma, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Decrease of CD4 T cell numbers causes immunosuppression in sepsis. We previously showed the beneficial role of ghrelin in sepsis. We hypothesize that the protective outcome of ghrelin in sepsis is mediated partially through the restoration of CD4 T cells’ proliferation. Sepsis was induced in mice by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). The percentage of CD4 T cells in spleen was assessed by flow cytometry and their proliferation was determined by carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CSFE). Compared to sham mice, the percentages of splenic CD4 T cells were reduced by 20%, 21%, and 29% at day 1, 2 and 3 after CLP, respectively. Human ghrelin was given to 3 day septic mice by s.c. injection at 5 and 24 h after CLP. Treatment with ghrelin restored the loss of CD4 T cells by increasing their proliferation in septic mice. The expression of cyclin D1 and B1 was significantly increased, while the expression of p57 was decreased in ghrelin-treated mice compared to vehicle-treated mice in sepsis. Treatment with human ghrelin significantly increased the p-AKT levels in the spleen compared to vehicle-treated septic mice. Human ghrelin plays an important role in reestablishing the proliferation of CD4 T cells and serves as a promising therapeutic agent in sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0201139
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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