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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2006 Jul 25;254-255:32-8. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Development of GABA and glutamate signaling at the GnRH neuron in relation to puberty.

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Centre for Neuroendocrinology, Department of Physiology, University of Otago School of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand.


The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons represent the critical cell type activated to induce puberty in mammals. However, the mechanisms underlying their activation remain unclear. As the principal amino acid neurotransmitters in the brain, GABA and glutamate are known to have critical roles in the development of neuronal networks. This review provides an update on what is known about GABA and glutamate signaling at the GnRH neuron across development. An examination of morphological, receptor subunit expression, and electrophysiological data suggest that GABAA receptor signaling develops in advance of glutamatergic signaling. However, compared with other networks, the switch from GABAA receptor depolarization to hyperpolarization of GnRH neurons is delayed until the time of puberty. These observations suggest that developing GnRH neurons exhibit a sequence of GABA-->glutamate signaling similar to that of other neuronal networks but that it is significantly elongated so as to only be complete by the time of puberty onset.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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