Leptin’s effect on puberty in mice is relayed by the ventral premammillary nucleus and does not require signaling in Kiss1 neurons. J Clin Invest

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hypothalamic Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9077, USA.
The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 01/2011; 121(1):355-68. DOI: 10.1172/JCI45106
Source: PubMed


Studies in humans and rodents indicate that a minimum amount of stored energy is required for normal pubertal development. The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin is a key metabolic signal to the neuroendocrine reproductive axis. Humans and mice lacking leptin or the leptin receptor (LepR) (ob/ob and db/db mice, respectively) are infertile and fail to enter puberty. Leptin administration to leptin-deficient subjects and ob/ob mice induces puberty and restores fertility, but the exact site or sites of leptin action are unclear. Here, we found that genetic deletion of LepR selectively from hypothalamic Kiss1 neurons in mice had no effect on puberty or fertility, indicating that direct leptin signaling in Kiss1 neurons is not required for these processes. However, bilateral lesions of the ventral premammillary nucleus (PMV) of ob/ob mice blunted the ability of exogenous leptin to induce sexual maturation. Moreover, unilateral reexpression of endogenous LepR in PMV neurons was sufficient to induce puberty and improve fertility in female LepR-null mice. This LepR reexpression also normalized the increased hypothalamic GnRH content characteristic of leptin-signaling deficiency. These data suggest that the PMV is a key site for leptin's permissive action at the onset of puberty and support the hypothesis that the multiple actions of leptin to control metabolism and reproduction are anatomically dissociated.

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Available from: Michael M Scott, Jan 13, 2014
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    • "In spite of the suggestive evidence summarized above, experimental data gathered in the last few years have questioned the hypothesis of a predominant or exclusive direct mode of action of leptin on Kiss1 neurons. Thus, elimination of LepR selectively from Kiss1 cells has been shown not to interfere with normal puberty onset and fertility [63]. As call of caution, this approach involved the congenital ablation of LepR from Kiss1-expressing cells; hence, it is possible that such manipulation might have induced compensatory changes that might mask the phenotypic impact of elimination of LepR in this neuronal population. "
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    ABSTRACT: As an essential function for perpetuation of species, reproduction, including puberty onset, is sensitive to the size of body energy stores and the metabolic state of the organism. Accordingly, impaired energy homeostasis, ranging from extreme leanness, such as in anorexia or cachexia, to morbid obesity has an impact on the timing of puberty and is often associated to fertility problems. The neuroendocrine basis for such phenomenon is the close connection between numerous metabolic hormones and nutritional cues with the various elements of the so-called hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Yet, despite previous fragmentary knowledge, it was only the discovery of the adipose-hormone, leptin, in 1994 what revolutionized our understanding on how metabolic and reproductive systems closely interplay and allowed the definition of the neurohormonal causes of perturbations of puberty and fertility in conditions of impaired body energy homeostasis. In this article, we aim to provide a synoptic view of the mechanisms whereby leptin engages in the regulation of different elements of the HPG axis, with special attention to its effects and mechanisms of action on the different elements of the reproductive brain and its proven direct effects in the gonads. In addition, we will summarize the state-of-the-art regarding the putative roles of leptin during gestation, including its potential function as placental hormone. Finally, comments will be made on the eventual leptin alterations in reproductive disorders, with special attention to the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disease in which reproductive, metabolic and neuroendocrine alterations are commonly observed. All in all, we intend to provide an updated account of our knowledge on the physiological roles of leptin in the metabolic regulation of the reproductive axis and its eventual pathophysiological implications in prevalent reproductive disorders, such as PCOS. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Metabolism: clinical and experimental
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    • "Likewise, circuits involving the PMV participate also in this phenomenon (Elias, 2012). In fact, studies from Elias and co-workers have documented the importance of PMV in transmitting the reproductive effects of leptin (Donato et al., 2011), and recent analyses unveiled alterations of the Kiss1 system following PMV lesions (Donato et al., 2013). In good agreement, neuroanatomical studies have shown that neurons from the PMV apparently innervate Kiss1 and GnRH neurons. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is well established that pubertal activation of the reproductive axis and maintenance of fertility are critically dependent on the magnitude of body energy reserves and the metabolic state of the organism. Hence, conditions of impaired energy homeostasis often result in deregulation of puberty and reproduction, whereas gonadal dysfunction can be associated with the worsening of the metabolic profile and, eventually, changes in body weight. While much progress has taken place in our knowledge about the neuroendocrine mechanisms linking metabolism and reproduction, our understanding of how such dynamic interplay happens is still incomplete. As paradigmatic example, much has been learnt in the last two decades on the reproductive roles of key metabolic hormones (such as leptin, insulin and ghrelin), their brain targets and the major transmitters and neuropeptides involved. Yet, the molecular mechanisms whereby metabolic information is translated and engages into the reproductive circuits remain largely unsolved. In this work, we will summarize recent developments in the characterization of the putative central roles of key cellular energy sensors, such as mTOR, in this phenomenon, and will relate these with other molecular mechanisms likely contributing to the brain coupling of energy balance and fertility. In doing so, we aim to provide an updated view of an area that, despite still underdeveloped, may be critically important to fully understand how reproduction and metabolism are tightly connected in health and disease.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
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    • "Moreover, only a small subset of neurons that secrete kisspeptin, a potent and direct activator of GnRH secretion, express leptin receptors (Smith et al., 2006; Louis et al., 2011). Furthermore, ablation of leptin receptors in kisspeptin-secreting neurons did not affect fertility or body weight (Donato et al., 2011; Louis et al., 2011), suggesting the presence of unidentified circuits of leptinresponsive neurons involved in the metabolic control of GnRH neuronal activity that modulate the kisspeptinergic tone. "
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    ABSTRACT: The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin plays a critical role in the central transmission of energy balance to modulate reproductive function. However, the neurocircuitry underlying this interaction remains elusive, in part due to incomplete knowledge of first-order leptin-responsive neurons. To address this gap, we explored the contribution of predominantly inhibitory (GABAergic) neurons versus excitatory (glutamatergic) neurons in the female mouse by selective ablation of the leptin receptor in each neuronal population: Vgat-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) and Vglut2-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) mice, respectively. Female Vgat-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) but not Vglut2-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) mice were obese. Vgat-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) mice had delayed or absent vaginal opening, persistent diestrus, and atrophic reproductive tracts with absent corpora lutea. In contrast, Vglut2-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) females exhibited reproductive maturation and function comparable to Lepr(lox/lox) control mice. Intracerebroventricular administration of kisspeptin-10 to Vgat-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) female mice elicited robust gonadotropin responses, suggesting normal gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal and gonadotrope function. However, adult ovariectomized Vgat-Cre;Lepr(lox/lox) mice displayed significantly reduced levels of Kiss1 (but not Tac2) mRNA in the arcuate nucleus, and a reduced compensatory luteinizing hormone increase compared with control animals. Estradiol replacement after ovariectomy inhibited gonadotropin release to a similar extent in both groups. These animals also exhibited a compromised positive feedback response to sex steroids, as shown by significantly lower Kiss1 mRNA levels in the AVPV, compared with Lepr(lox/lox) mice. We conclude that leptin-responsive GABAergic neurons, but not glutamatergic neurons, act as metabolic sensors to regulate fertility, at least in part through modulatory effects on kisspeptin neurons.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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