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Prog Brain Res. 2002;141:3-17.

Cell migration and evolutionary significance of GnRH subtypes.

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Department of Physiology, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan.


Hypothetically it can be assumed that in advanced teleost fishes, GnRH-III and GnRH-IV neurons migrate along the 'telencephalonic' (anterior) and 'diencephalonic' (posterior) migratory route, which perhaps fuses in primitive teleost fishes and land vertebrates to form the 'ancient migratory route' (in all probability = nervus terminalis; see Von Bartheld et al., 1988) of GnRH-I neurons. The difference in distribution pattern of GnRH forms in the vertebrate brain is due to distinct embryonic origins: (1) Cells of olfactory origin, which give rise to GnRH-I (salmon, catfish, chicken I, mammalian GnRH) are distributed along the olfactory system and the basal forebrain in primitive fishes and in land vertebrates; GnRH-I might be pivotal for LH/FSH synthesis-release, olfaction and metamorphosis in lower vertebrates. In advanced teleost fishes, neurons synthesizing GnRH-III ('salmon' GnRH) originate from the olfactory system; they are distributed along the basal olfactory bulbs, with distinct ganglia (NOR) at the caudalmost part of the olfactory bulbs and few scattered cells in the basal telencephalon. The NOR might function as a neuromodulator, hypophysiotropic hormone and regulate visual associated reproductive behaviors. (2) Cells of mesencephalonic origin, which give rise to GnRH-II (chicken-II GnRH) are evolutionarily conserved; might function as a neuromodulator involved in motor-associated reproductive behaviors and acid-base balance. (3) Cells of diencephalonic origin, which give rise to GnRH-IV (seabream, medaka GnRH); they are localized in the anterior-basal OVLT-POA area and present only in advanced teleost fishes. GnRH-IV has been implicated in gonadal sex differentiation, gonadal maturation, LH/FSH secretion and territorial behavior. Advance teleost fishes for yet unknown functions might have acquired GnRH-IV. Although all GnRH subtypes participate in some aspect of reproduction; the precise function of each GnRH form still remains unclear.

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