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Neuroendocrinology. 1991 Mar;53(3):261-7.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid neurons in the preoptic/anterior hypothalamic area synchronize the phasic activity of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone pulse generator in ovariectomized rats.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Göttingen, FRG.


To achieve a bolus-type release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) into the portal vessels it is required that GnRH neurons exert phasic and synchronous activity. The activity of GnRH neurons appears to be under an inhibitory influence of the amino acid neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Preoptic GABA concentrations in ovariectomized (OVX) rats decrease prior to a luteinizing hormone (LH) episode. This reduction of GABAergic activity in the preoptic/anterior hypothalamic area (PO/AH) may be the synchronizing signal for the simultaneous release of GnRH from the hypothalamus. To further study the role of GABA in controlling the GnRH pulse generator we applied GABA, 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) or bicuculline (BIC) locally into the PO/AH by means of push-pull cannulae (PPC). PPC were implanted into the PO/AH of OVX rats and the contralateral, not PPC-implanted PO/AH was lesioned electrochemically. The effects of GABA, MPA or BIC on the GnRH pulse generator were determined by measuring LH levels in blood samples collected in 5-min intervals. Local application of GABA into the PO/AH caused a pronounced reduction of average LH secretion and abolished LH pulsatility. This inhibitory effect was completely reversible. Results of intrapreoptic MPA application on GABA secretion were variable. In only 45% of treated rats MPA caused a reduction of GABA secretion which was associated with a cessation of pulsatile LH release. A pronounced reduction of LH secretion and pulsatility was observed upon local application of the GABA antagonist BIC. Based on these data we propose that oscillating GABA levels in the PO/AH may be the synchronizing signal which triggers bolus release of GnRH into the portal vessels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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