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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2016, Article ID 4513051, 11 pages
Research Article

Ghrelin Protects against Dexamethasone-Induced INS-1 Cell Apoptosis via ERK and p38MAPK Signaling

1Hepatobiliary Surgery Department and Unit of Organ Transplantation, First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China
2Hepatobiliary Surgery Department, Chifeng Municipal Hospital, Chifeng 024000, China
3Department of General Surgery, Fourth Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110032, China

Received 26 November 2015; Revised 10 March 2016; Accepted 23 March 2016

Academic Editor: Marco Bugliani

Copyright © 2016 Chengshuo Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Glucocorticoid excess induces apoptosis of islet cells, which may result in diabetes. In this study, we investigated the protective effect of ghrelin on dexamethasone-induced INS-1 cell apoptosis. Our data showed that ghrelin (0.1 μM) inhibited dexamethasone-induced (0.1 μM) apoptosis of INS-1 cells and facilitated cell proliferation. Moreover, ghrelin upregulated Bcl-2 expression, downregulated Bax expression, and decreased caspase-3 activity. The protective effect of ghrelin against dexamethasone-induced INS-1 cell apoptosis was mediated via growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a. Further studies revealed that ghrelin increased ERK activation and decreased p38MAPK expression after dexamethasone treatment. Ghrelin-mediated protection of dexamethasone-induced apoptosis of INS-1 cells was attenuated using the ERK inhibitor U0126 (10 μM), and cell viability increased using the p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580 (10 μM). In conclusion, ghrelin could protect against dexamethasone-induced INS-1 cell apoptosis, at least partially via GHS-R1a and the signaling pathway of ERK and p38MAPK.