The orexigenic hormone ghrelin defends against depressive symptoms in chronic stress

We found that increasing ghrelin levels, through subcutaneous injections or calorie restriction, produced anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like responses in the elevated plus maze and forced swim test. Moreover, chronic social defeat stress, a rodent model of depression, persistently increased ghrelin levels, whereas growth hormone secretagogue receptor (Ghsr) null mice showed increased deleterious effects of chronic defeat. Together, these findings demonstrate a previously unknown function for ghrelin in defending against depressive-like symptoms of chronic stress.