Tonic Control of Kisspeptin Release in Prepubertal Monkeys: Implications to the Mechanism of Puberty Onset

Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, Wisconsin 53715-1299, USA.
Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.64). 05/2012; 153(7):3331-6. DOI: 10.1210/en.2012-1221
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previously we have shown that a reduction in γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) inhibition is critical for the mechanism initiating puberty onset because chronic infusion of the GABA(A) receptor antagonist, bicuculline, significantly increased GnRH release and accelerated the timing of menarche and first ovulation in female rhesus monkeys. Because previous studies in our laboratory indicate that in prepubertal female monkeys, kisspeptin release in the medial basal hypothalamus is low, whereas kisspeptin-10 can stimulate GnRH release, we hypothesized that a low level of kisspeptin release prior to puberty onset is due to tonic GABA inhibition. To test this hypothesis we examined the effects of bicuculline infusion on kisspeptin release using a microdialysis method. We found that bicuculline at 1 μM dramatically stimulates kisspeptin release in the medial basal hypothalamus of prepubertal monkeys but had little effect on kisspeptin release in midpubertal monkeys. We further examined whether bicuculline-induced GnRH release is blocked by the presence of the kisspeptin antagonist, peptide 234. We found that inhibition of kisspeptin signaling blocked the bicuculline-induced stimulation of GnRH release, suggesting that kisspeptin neurons may relay inhibitory GABA signals to GnRH neurons. This implies that a reduction in tonic GABA inhibition of GnRH release is, at least in part, mediated through kisspeptin neurons.

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    ABSTRACT: The major determinants of the variability in pubertal maturation are reported to be genetic and inherited. Nonetheless, nutritional status contributes significantly to this variability. Malnutrition delays puberty whereas obesity has been associated to a rise in Idiopathic Central Precocious Puberty (ICPP) in girls. However, epidemiology data indicate that contribution of obesity to early puberty varies significantly among ethnic groups, and that obesity-independent inheritable genetic factors are the strongest predictors of early puberty in any ethnic group. In fact, two human mutations with confirmed association to ICPP have been identified in children with no history of obesity. These mutations are in kisspeptin and kisspeptin receptor, a ligand/receptor pair with a major role on the onset of puberty and female cyclicity after puberty. Progressive increases in kisspeptin expression in hypothalamic nuclei known to regulate reproductive function has been associated to the onset of puberty, and hypothalamic expression of kisspeptin is reported to be sexually dimorphic in many species, which include humans. The hypothalamus of females is programmed to express significantly higher levels of kisspeptin than their male counterparts. Interestingly, incidence of ICPP and delayed puberty in children is markedly sexually dimorphic, such that ICPP is at least 10-fold more frequent in females, whereas prevalence of delayed puberty is about 5-fold higher in males. These observations are consistent with a possible involvement of sexually dimorphic kisspeptin signaling in the sexual dimorphism of normal puberty and of pubertal disorders in children of all ethnicities. This review discusses the likelihood of such associations, as well as a potential role of kisspeptin as the converging target of environmental, metabolic, and hormonal signals, which would be integrated in order to optimize reproductive function.
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