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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2005 May-Jun;16(4):145-51.

Origin and development of GnRH neurons.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, 445/449 Biotechnology Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is an essential decapeptide, with both endocrine and neuromodulatory functions in vertebrates. GnRH-containing cells of the forebrain were thought to originate in the olfactory placode and migrate to their central nervous system destinations, and those of the midbrain to arise locally from the neural tube. Here, the embryonic origins of GnRH cells are re-examined in light of recent data suggesting that forebrain GnRH cells arise from the anterior pituitary placode and cranial neural crest, from where they migrate to their final destinations. The emerging picture suggests that GnRH cells do not originate from the olfactory placodes, but arise from multiple embryonic origins, and transiently associate with the developing olfactory system as they migrate to ventral forebrain locations.

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