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Minireview: kisspeptin neurons as central processors in the regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Health Sciences Building, G-424, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Box 357290, Seattle, Washington 98195-7290, USA.
Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.72). 04/2006; 147(3):1154-8. DOI:10.1210/en.2005-1282
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Kiss1 gene encodes a family of peptides called kisspeptins, which bind to the G protein-coupled receptor GPR54. Kisspeptin(s) and its receptor are expressed in the forebrain, and the discovery that mice and humans lacking a functional GPR54 fail to undergo puberty and exhibit hypogonadotropic hypogonadism implies that kisspeptin signaling plays an essential role in reproduction. Studies in several mammalian species have shown that kisspeptins stimulate the secretion of gonadotropins from the pituitary by stimulating the release of GnRH from the forebrain after the activation of GPR54, which is expressed by GnRH neurons. Kisspeptin is expressed abundantly in the arcuate nucleus (Arc) and the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) of the forebrain. Both estradiol and testosterone regulate the expression of the Kiss1 gene in the Arc and AVPV; however, the response of the Kiss1 gene to these steroids is exactly opposite between these two nuclei. Estradiol and testosterone down-regulate Kiss1 mRNA in the Arc and up-regulate its expression in the AVPV. Thus, kisspeptin neurons in the Arc may participate in the negative feedback regulation of gonadotropin secretion, whereas kisspeptin neurons in the AVPV may contribute to generating the preovulatory gonadotropin surge in the female. Hypothalamic levels of Kiss1 and GPR54 mRNA increase dramatically at puberty, suggesting that kisspeptin signaling could mediate the neuroendocrine events that trigger the onset of puberty. Together, these observations demonstrate that kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling in the brain serves as an important conduit for controlling GnRH secretion in the developing and adult animal.

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    ABSTRACT: Reproductive function requires timely secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which is controlled by a complex excitatory/inhibitory network influenced by sex steroids. Kiss1 neurons are fundamental players in this network, but it is currently unclear whether different conditions of circulating sex steroids directly alter Kiss1 neuronal activity. Here, we show that Kiss1 neurons in the anteroventral periventricular and anterior periventricular nuclei (AVPV/PeN) of males and females exhibit a bimodal resting membrane potential (RMP) influenced by K(ATP) channels, suggesting the presence of two neuronal populations defined as type I (irregular firing patterns) and type II (quiescent). Kiss1 neurons in the arcuate nucleus (Arc) are also composed of firing and quiescent cells, but unlike AVPV/PeN neurons, the range of RMPs did not follow a bimodal distribution. Moreover, Kiss1 neuronal activity in the AVPV/PeN, but not in the Arc, is sexually dimorphic. In females, estradiol shifts the firing pattern of AVPV/PeN Kiss1 neurons and alters cell capacitance and spontaneous IPSCs amplitude of AVPV/PeN and Arc Kiss1 populations in an opposite manner. Notably, mice with selective deletion of estrogen receptor α (ERα) from Kiss1 neurons show cellular activity similar to that observed in ovariectomized females, suggesting that estradiol-induced changes in Kiss1 cellular properties require ERα. We also show that female prepubertal Kiss1 neurons are under higher inhibitory influence and all recorded AVPV/PeN Kiss1 neurons were spontaneously active. Collectively, our findings indicate that changes in cellular activity may underlie Kiss1 action in pubertal initiation and female reproduction.
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    ABSTRACT: Pubertal onset only occurs in a favorable, anabolic hormonal environment. The neuropeptide kisspeptin, encoded by the Kiss1 gene, modifies GnRH neuronal activity to initiate puberty and maintain fertility, but the factors that regulate Kiss1 neurons and permit pubertal maturation remain to be clarified. The anabolic factor insulin may signal nutritional status to these neurons. To determine whether insulin sensing plays an important role in Kiss1 neuron function, we generated mice lacking insulin receptors in Kiss1 neurons (IR(ΔKiss) mice). IR(ΔKiss) females showed a delay in vaginal opening and in first estrus, whereas IR(ΔKiss) males also exhibited late sexual maturation. Correspondingly, LH levels in IR(ΔKiss) mice were reduced in early puberty in both sexes. Adult reproductive capacity, body weight, fat composition, food intake, and glucose regulation were comparable between the 2 groups. These data suggest that impaired insulin sensing by Kiss1 neurons delays the initiation of puberty but does not affect adult fertility. These studies provide insight into the mechanisms regulating pubertal timing in anabolic states.
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Heather M Dungan