Developmental changes in the mammalian gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) ortholog RFamide-related peptide (RFRP) and its cognate receptor GPR147 in the rat hypothalamus
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.
Available from: Alexander S Kauffman
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ABSTRACT: Arginine-phenylalanine-amide (RFamide)-related peptide 3 (RFRP-3, encoded by the Rfrp gene) is the mammalian ortholog of gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone and can inhibit GnRH neuronal activity and LH release. However, the development and regulation of the RFRP-3 system in both sexes is poorly understood. Using in situ hybridization, we examined changes in Rfrp-expressing neurons in mice of both sexes during development and under different adulthood hormonal milieus. We found no sex differences in Rfrp expression or cell number in adult mice. Interestingly, we identified two interspersed subpopulations of Rfrp cells (high Rfrp-expressing, HE; low Rfrp-expressing, LE), which have unique developmental and steroidal regulation characteristics. The number of LE cells robustly decreases during postnatal development, whereas HE cell number increases significantly before puberty. Using Bax knockout mice, we determined that the dramatic developmental decrease in LE Rfrp cells is not due primarily to BAX-dependent apoptosis. In adults, we found that estradiol and testosterone moderately repress Rfrp expression in both HE and LE cells, whereas the nonaromatizable androgen dihydrotestosterone has no effect. Using double-label in situ hybridization, we determined that approximately 25% of Rfrp neurons coexpress estrogen receptor-α in each sex, whereas Rfrp cells do not readily express androgen receptor in either sex, regardless of hormonal milieu. Lastly, when we looked at RFRP-3 receptors, we detected some coexpression of Gpr147 but no coexpression of Gpr74 in GnRH neurons of both intact and gonadectomized males and females. Thus, RFRP-3 may exert its effects on reproduction either directly, via Gpr147 in a subset of GnRH neurons, and/or indirectly, via upstream regulators of GnRH.
Available from: Heather B Patisaul
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ABSTRACT: Hypothalamic neurons, which produce the kisspeptin family of peptide hormones (Kp), are critical for initiating puberty and maintaining estrous cyclicity by stimulating gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release. Conversely, RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP3) neurons inhibit GnRH activity. It has previously been shown that neonatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) can alter the timing of female pubertal onset and induce irregular estrous cycles or premature anestrus. Here we tested the hypothesis that disrupted ontogeny of RFamide signaling pathways may be a mechanism underlying advanced puberty. To test this, we used a transgenic strain of Wistar rats whose GnRH neurons express enhanced green fluorescent protein. Pups were exposed by daily subcutaneous injection to vehicle, 17beta-estradiol (E2), 50 μg/kg BPA, or 50 mg/kg BPA, from Postnatal Day (PND) 0 through PND 3, and then cohorts were euthanized on PNDs 17, 21, 24, 28, and 33 (5-8 animals per age per exposure; males were collected on PNDs 21 and 33). Vaginal opening was advanced by E2 and 50 μg/kg BPA. On PND 28, females exposed to E2 and 50 μg/kg BPA had decreased RFRP-3 fiber density and contacts on GnRH neurons. RFRP3 perikarya were also decreased in females exposed to 50 μg/kg BPA. Data suggest that BPA-induced premature puberty results from decreased inhibition of GnRH neurons.
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ABSTRACT: Synthetic glucocorticoid (dexamethasone; DEX) treatment during the neonatal stage is known to affect reproductive activity. However, it is still unknown whether neonatal stress activates gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) synthesizing cells in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH), which could have pronounced suppressive action on gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, leading to delayed pubertal onset. This study was designed to determine the effect of neonatal DEX (1.0mg/kg) exposure on reproductive maturation. Therefore, GnRH, GnIH and GnIH receptors, G-protein coupled receptors (GPR) 147 and GPR74 mRNA levels were measured using quantitative real-time PCR in female mice at postnatal (P) days 21, 30 and in estrus stage mice, aged between P45-50. DEX-treated females of P45-50 had delayed vaginal opening, and irregular estrus cycles and lower GnRH expression in the preoptic area (POA) when compared with age-matched controls. The expression levels of GPR147 and GPR74 mRNA in the POA increased significantly in DEX-treated female mice of P21 and P45-50 compared to controls. In addition, GPR147 and GPR74 mRNA expression was observed in laser captured single GnRH neurons in the POA. Although there was no difference in GnIH mRNA expression in the DMH, immunostained GnIH cell numbers in the DMH increased in DEX-treated females of P45-50 compared to controls. Taken together, the results show that the delayed pubertal onset could be due to the inhibition of GnRH gene expression after neonatal DEX treatment, which may be accounted for in part by the inhibitory signals from the up-regulated GnIH-GnIH receptor pathway to the POA.
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