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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Feb 8;102(6):2129-34. Epub 2005 Jan 31.

Increased hypothalamic GPR54 signaling: a potential mechanism for initiation of puberty in primates.

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Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


To further study the role of GPR54 signaling in the onset of primate puberty, we used the monkey to examine the ability of kisspeptin-10 to elicit the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) precociously, and we describe the expression of GPR54 and KiSS-1 in the hypothalamus during the peripubertal period. Agonadal juvenile male monkeys were implanted with a lateral cerebroventricular cannula and a jugular vein catheter. The responsiveness of the juvenile pituitary to endogenous GnRH release was heightened with a chronic pulsatile i.v. infusion of synthetic GnRH before kisspeptin-10 (112-121) injection. Intracerebroventricular (30 microg or 100 microg) or i.v. (100 microg) bolus injections of kisspeptin-10 elicited a robust GnRH discharge, as reflected by luteinizing hormone secretion, which was abolished by pretreatment with a GnRH-receptor antagonist. RNA was isolated from the hypothalamus of agonadal males before (juvenile) and after (pubertal) the pubertal resurgence of pulsatile GnRH release and from juvenile, early pubertal, and midpubertal ovary-intact females. KiSS-1 mRNA levels detected by real-time PCR increased with puberty in both male and female monkeys. In intact females, but not in agonadal males, GPR54 mRNA levels in the hypothalamus increased approximately 3-fold from the juvenile to midpubertal stage. Hybridization histochemistry indicated robust KiSS-1 and GPR54 mRNA expression in the region of the arcuate nucleus. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that GPR54 signaling by its cognate ligand in the primate hypothalamus may be activated at the end of the juvenile phase of development and may contribute to the pubertal resurgence of pulsatile GnRH release, the central drive for puberty.

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