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Endocrinology. 2006 Mar;147(3):1159-65. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Minireview: recent progress in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal migration.

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  • 1Colorado State University, Department of Biomedical Sciences, 1617 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


Neurons that synthesize GnRH are critical brain regulators of the reproductive axis, yet they originate outside the brain and must migrate over long distances and varied environments to get to their appropriate positions during development. Many studies, past and present, are providing clues for the types of molecules encountered and movements expected along the migratory route. Recent studies provide real-time views of the behavior of GnRH neurons in the context of in vitro preparations that model those in vivo. Live images provide direct evidence of the changing behavior of GnRH neurons in their different environments, showing that GnRH neurons move with greater frequency and with more alterations in direction after they enter the brain. The heterogeneity of molecular phenotypes for GnRH neurons likely ensures that multiple external factors will be found that regulate the migration of different portions of the GnRH neuronal population at different steps along the route. Molecules distributed in gradients both in the peripheral olfactory system and basal forebrain may be particularly influential in directing the appropriate movement of GnRH neurons along their arduous migration. Molecules that mediate the adhesion of GnRH neurons to changing surfaces may also play critical roles. It is likely that the multiple external factors converge on selective signal transduction pathways to engage the mechanical mechanisms needed to modulate GnRH neuronal movement and ultimately migration.

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