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Endocrinology. 2004 Feb;145(2):686-91. Epub 2003 Oct 23.

The evolutionarily conserved gonadotropin-releasing hormone II modifies food intake.

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University of Virginia Medical School, P.O. Box 800733, Jordan Hall, Room 1229, 1300 Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


GnRH is an evolutionarily conserved peptide of which there are multiple structural variants. One form, GnRH II, is the most widespread in vertebrates, but its primary function remains unclear. In female musk shrews, administration of GnRH II, but not GnRH I, reinstates mating behavior previously inhibited by food restriction. Because this finding suggests that the function of GnRH II may be linked to energetic status, we tested whether GnRH II directly affects food intake. Adult female musk shrews were maintained on ad libitum feeding or food restricted for 48 h, after which they were infused centrally with GnRH I (1 microg), GnRH II (1 microg), or saline. Food intake was recorded 90 min, and 3, 6, 24, and 48 h after infusion. GnRH II administration, but not saline or GnRH I, reduced 24-h food intake in ad libitum animals. Short-term food intake (90 min and 3 h) of both ad libitum and underfed shrews receiving GnRH II was also reduced by as much as 33%, relative to the food intake of saline-infused controls. GnRH I infusion did not affect short-term food intake differently than saline infusion in shrews fed ad libitum. In underfed females, GnRH I had an effect on short-term food intake that was intermediate to saline and GnRH II. We conclude that, in addition to its permissive role in regulating reproduction, GnRH II may also modulate food intake in mammals. Because GnRH II is present in primate brain, it may also serve a similar function in humans.

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