Developmental changes in the mammalian gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) ortholog RFamide-related peptide (RFRP) and its cognate receptor GPR147 in the rat hypothalamus.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Institute of Health Biosciences, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-Cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.
International journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.03). 10/2011; 30(1):31-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2011.10.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mammalian gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) ortholog RFamide-related peptide (RFRP) is considered to act on gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons and on the pituitary to inhibit gonadotropin release and synthesis. To understand the functional significance of this neuropeptide, we investigated the physiological changes in RFRP at mRNA and peptide levels, as well as at the mRNA level of its cognate receptor, G protein-coupled receptor 147 (GPR147), in the rat hypothalamus during development. We also investigated the effects of gonadal steroids on mRNA expression levels of these molecules. In male rats, mRNA expressions of both RFRP and GPR147 increased from postnatal days 12 and 16, peaking at postnatal days 35 and 42, respectively. However, their expressions fell at postnatal day 49. In female rats, mRNA expression of RFRP continued to increase throughout development; mRNA expression of GPR147 in female rats increased from postnatal day 16, peaking at postnatal day 28, but decreased from postnatal day 35. The hypothalamic contents of RFRP on postnatal days 28 and 42 were significantly higher than on postnatal day 4 in male rats, and those on postnatal day 42 were significantly higher than those on postnatal days 4 and 28 in females. Neither orchidectomy nor ovariectomy influenced mRNA expression levels of RFRP or GPR147 in the prepubertal period when endogenous sex steroid levels were low in males and females. Administration of estradiol-17β (E2) increased mRNA expression of RFRP in prepubertal females. These results suggest that the hypothalamic RFRP system changes during development. An ovarian sex steroid, E2, may stimulate mRNA expression of RFRP in the prepubertal period when the basal E2 concentration is low.

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    ABSTRACT: RFamides (RFa) are neuropeptides involved in many different physiological processes in vertebrates, such as reproductive behavior, pubertal activation of the reproductive endocrine axis, control of feeding behavior, and pain modulation. As research has focused mostly on their role in adult vertebrates, the possible roles of these peptides during development are poorly understood. However, the few studies that exist show that RFa are expressed early in development in different vertebrate classes, perhaps mostly associated with the central nervous system. Interestingly, the related peptide family of FMRFa has been shown to be important for brain development in invertebrates. In a teleost, the Japanese medaka, knockdown of genes in the Kiss system indicates that Kiss ligands and receptors are vital for brain development, but few other functional studies exist. Here we review the literature of RFa in early vertebrate development, including the possible functional roles these peptides may play.
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    ABSTRACT: Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) is a key player in the hypothalamic control of gonadotropin secretion from the anterior pituitary gland. It has been shown that the mammalian counterpart of the avian gonadotropin inhibitory hormone named RFamide-related peptide (RFRP) is expressed in hypothalamic neurons that innervate and inhibit GnRH neurons. The RFRP precursor is processed into two mature peptides RFRP-1 and RFRP-3. These are characterized by a conserved C-terminal motif Arg-Phe-NH2 but display highly different N-terminals. Even though the two peptides are equally potent in vitro, little is known about their relative distribution and their distinct roles in vivo. In this study, we raised an antiserum selective for RFRP-1 and defined the distribution of RFRP-1-immunoreactive (ir) neurons in the rat brain. Next, we analyzed the level of RFRP-1-immunoreactivity during postnatal development in males and females and investigated changes in RFRP-1-immunoreactivity during the estrous cycle. RFRP-1-ir neurons were distributed along the third ventricle from the caudal part of the medial anterior hypothalamus throughout the medial tuberal hypothalamus and were localized in, but mostly in between, the dorsomedial hypothalamic, ventromedial hypothalamic, and arcuate nuclei. The number of RFRP-1-ir neurons and the density of cellular immunoreactivity were unchanged from juvenile to adulthood in male rats during the postnatal development. However, both parameters were significantly increased in female rats from peri-puberty to adulthood, demonstrating prominent gender difference in the developmental control of RFRP-1 expression. The percentage of c-Fos positive RFRP-1-ir neurons was significantly higher in diestrus as compared to proestrus and estrus. In conclusion, we found that adult females, as compared to males, have significantly more RFRP-1-immunoreactivity pr cell, and these cells are regulated during the estrous cycle.
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