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Department of Cell Biology

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Animals; Autocrine Communication; Cell Count; Cell Movement; Cell Size; Electrophysiology; Female; Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone; Green Fluorescent Proteins; Hypogonadism; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C3H; Mice, Transgenic; Models, Biological; Mutant Proteins; Neurons; Paracrine Communication; Receptors, LHRH


Cell Biology


Hypothalamic GnRH neurons are essential for initiation and regulation of reproductive function. In addition to pituitary gonadotrope stimulation, activity of GnRH through its receptor (GnRHR) has been suggested to include autocrine regulation of the GnRH neuron. Two hypogonadal mouse strains, the Gnrh1 mutant (hpg) mice and Gnrhr mutant mice were used to investigate the potential role of GnRH signaling in the proper development and maintenance of GnRH neurons. Immunocytochemical analysis of heterozygous hpg mice revealed a GnRH neuron population that was normal in size and distribution, indicating no effect from reduced Gnrh1 gene dosage on the neurons themselves. To visualize GnRH neurons in homozygous GnRH-deficient hpg mice, heterozygous hpg mice were crossed with GnRH-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice with targeted expression of the GFP reporter gene in GnRH neurons. Analysis of forebrains of homozygous hpg/GFP-positive mice immunostained for GFP revealed a normal population size and appropriate distribution of GnRH neurons in hpg mice, with immunoreactive neuronal processes present at the median eminence. Similarly, adult mice deficient in functional GnRHR possessed a full complement of GnRH neurons in the basal forebrain that was indistinguishable from the distribution of GnRH neurons in their wild-type counterparts. Moreover, hpg/GFP neurons retained the ability to generate spontaneous bursts of action potential firing activity, suggesting that GnRH peptide is not required for this function. These data establish that autocrine-paracrine GnRH-signaling is not a prerequisite for the developmental migration of GnRH neurons into the brain or for the projection of GnRH neurosecretory axons.

DOI of Published Version



Endocrinology. 2008 Sep;149(9):4596-604. Epub 2008 May 22. Link to article on publisher's site

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