Role of bombesin-related peptides in the control of food intake

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The orphan receptor, bombesin (Bn) receptor subtype 3 (BRS-3), shares high homology with bombesin receptors (neuromedin B receptor (NMB-R) and gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRP-R)). This receptor is widely distributed in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract; target disruption leads to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, however, its role in physiological and pathological processes remain unknown due to lack of selective ligands or identification of its natural ligand. We have recently discovered (Mantey, S. A., Weber, H. C., Sainz, E., Akeson, M., Ryan, R. R. Pradhan, T. K., Searles, R. P., Spindel, E. R., Battey, J. F., Coy, D. H., and Jensen, R. T. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 26062-26071) that [d-Tyr(6),beta-Ala(11),Phe(13),Nle(14)]Bn-(6-14) has high affinity for BRS-3 and using this ligand showed BRS-3 has a unique pharmacology with high affinity for no known natural Bn peptides. However, use of this ligand is limited because it has high affinity for all known Bn receptors. In the present study we have attempted to identify BRS-3 selective ligands using a strategy of rational peptide design with the substitution of conformationally restricted amino acids into the prototype ligand [d-Tyr(6),beta-Ala(11),Phe(13),Nle(14)]Bn-(6-14) or its d-Phe(6) analogue. Each of the 22 peptides synthesized had binding affinities determined for hBRS-3, hGRPR, and hNMBR, and hBRS-3 selective ligands were tested for their ability to activate phospholipase C and increase inositol phosphates ([(3)H]inositol phosphate). Using this approach we have identified a number of BRS-3 selective ligands. These ligands functioned as receptor agonists and their binding affinities were reflected in their potencies for altering [(3)H]inositol phosphate. Two peptides with an (R)- or (S)-amino-3-phenylpropionic acid substitution for beta-Ala(11) in the prototype ligand had the highest selectivity for the hBRS-3 over the mammalian Bn receptors and did not interact with receptors for other gastrointestinal hormones/neurotransmitters. Molecular modeling demonstrated these two selective BRS-3 ligands had a unique conformation of the position 11 beta-amino acid. This selectivity was of sufficient magnitude that these should be useful in explaining the role of hBRS-3 activation in obesity, glucose homeostasis, hypertension, and other physiological or pathological processes.

Mantey SA, Coy DH, Pradhan TK, et al. Rational design of a peptide agonist that interacts selectively with the orphan receptor, bombesin receptor subtype 3. J Biol Chem. 2001;276(12):9219-29.

We found a potent hyperglycemic effect of proadrenomedullin N-terminal 20 peptide (PAMP) after intra-third cerebroventricular administration at a dose of 10 nmol in fasted mice. PAMP has four homologous residues with bombesin (BN), a hyperglycemic peptide. PAMP showed affinity for gastrin-releasing peptide preferring receptor (GRP-R) and neuromedin B preferring receptor. The PAMP-induced hyperglycemic effect was inhibited by [D-Phe(6), Leu-NHEt(13), des-Met(14)]-BN (6-14), GRP-R specific antagonist, indicating that the hyperglycemic effect is mediated at least in part via GRP-R. Furthermore, pretreatment of alpha-adrenergic blocker inhibited the PAMP-induced hyperglycemia and hyperglucagonemia, suggesting that the increase of glucagon secretion through alpha-adrenergic activation is involved in this hyperglycemic effect of PAMP.

Ohinata K, Inui A, Asakawa A, Wada K, Wada E, Yoshikawa M. Proadrenomedullin N-terminal 20 peptide (PAMP) elevates blood glucose levels via bombesin receptor in mice. FEBS Lett. 2000;473(2):207-11.

In 1970, Erspamer et al.(1,14)isolated and characterized the tetradecapeptide bombesin (BN) from the skin of amphibian frog Bombina bombina. Subsequently, several BN-like peptides have been identified in mammals, consisting of various forms of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and/or neuromedin B (NMB), together with their distinct receptor subtypes. It has been proposed that BN-related peptides may be released from the gastrointestinal (GI)-tract in response to ingested food, and that they bridge the gut and brain (through neurocrine means) to inhibit further food intake. Conversely, the suppression of release of BN-like peptides at relevant brain nuclei may signal the initiation of a feeding episode. The present review will describe recent pharmacological, molecular, behavioral and physiological experiments, supporting the contention that endogenous BN-related peptides do indeed influence ingestive behaviors. Particular attention is focused on the relationship between these peptides in the peripheral compartment and their impact on central circuits using GRP and/or NMB as transmitters. In addition, however, we will point out various caveats and conundrums that preclude unequivocal conclusions about the precise role(s) of these peptides and their mechanism(s) of action. We conclude that BN-related peptides play an important role in the control of food intake, and may contribute to ingestive disruptions associated with anorexia (anorexia nervosa, AIDS and cancer anorexia), bulimia, obesity and depression. Hence, pharmacological targeting of these systems may be of therapeutic value.

Merali Z, Mcintosh J, Anisman H. Role of bombesin-related peptides in the control of food intake. Neuropeptides. 1999;33(5):376-86.

The amphibian peptide bombesin (BN) and the related mammalian peptides gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) and neuromedin B (NMB) inhibit gastric emptying in rats. Exogenous administration of BN stimulates the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a gastrointestinal peptide that also potently inhibits gastric emptying. To determine whether the inhibition of gastric emptying by BN-like peptides is mediated by a CCK-dependent mechanism, we examined the ability of the CCK-A receptor antagonist, devazepide, to block the inhibition of saline gastric emptying produced by BN, GRP18-27 and NMB. Using the same dosages as in the gastric emptying experiment, we also evaluated the effect of devazepide on feeding suppression produced by systemically administered BN. Our results showed that devazepide completely blocked the suppression of gastric emptying produced by BN, GRP18-27 and NMB but had no effect on BN-induced suppression of food intake. These results suggest that BN-like peptides inhibit gastric emptying through an indirect mechanism that is dependent upon CCK-A receptor activation. In contrast, the suppression of food intake by BN, in this experimental paradigm, is independent of CCK-A receptors.

Merali Z, Mcintosh J, Anisman H. Role of bombesin-related peptides in the control of food intake. Neuropeptides. 1999;33(5):376-86.

Recent studies have identified two subtypes of bombesin (BN) receptors in the rat central nervous system: gastrin releasing-peptide (GRP) preferring and neuromedin B (NMB) preferring. To investigate a role for the NMB-preferring receptor subtype in feeding suppression elicited by fourth ventricular (4V) BN administration, we evaluated the ability of a selective NMB-preferring receptor antagonist, BIM-23127, to block suppression of glucose intake produced by 4V BN (10 pmol). Our results showed that 4V administration of BIM-23127 dose dependently antagonized the suppression of glucose intake produced by 4V BN. In addition, 4V administration of BIM-23127 alone increased glucose intake above that observed in the baseline condition. These results support a role for the NMB-preferring BN receptor subtype in the suppression of intake produced by 4V BN administration and suggest that endogenously released NMB participates in ingestive control.

Ladenheim EE, Taylor JE, Coy DH, Carrigan TS, Wohn A, Moran TH. Caudal hindbrain neuromedin B-preferring receptors participate in the control of food intake. Am J Physiol. 1997;272(1 Pt 2):R433-7.

Mammalian bombesin-like peptides are widely distributed in the central nervous system as well as in the gastrointestinal tract, where they modulate smooth-muscle contraction, exocrine and endocrine processes, metabolism and behaviour. They bind to G-protein-coupled receptors on the cell surface to elicit their effects. Bombesin-like peptide receptors cloned so far include, gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRP-R), neuromedin B receptor (NMB-R), and bombesin receptor subtype-3 (BRS-3). However, despite the molecular characterization of BRS-3, determination of its function has been difficult as a result of its low affinity for bombesin and its lack of an identified natural ligand. We have generated BRS-3-deficient mice in an attempt to determine the in vivo function of the receptor. Mice lacking functional BRS-3 developed a mild obesity, associated with hypertension and impairment of glucose metabolism. They also exhibited reduced metabolic rate, increased feeding efficiency and subsequent hyperphagia. Our data suggest that BRS-3 is required for the regulation of endocrine processes and metabolism responsible for energy balance and adiposity. BRS-3-deficient mice provide a useful new model for the investigation of human obesity and associated diseases. 

Ohki-hamazaki H, Watase K, Yamamoto K, et al. Mice lacking bombesin receptor subtype-3 develop metabolic defects and obesity. Nature. 1997;390(6656):165-9.

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