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Neurochem Int. 2008 Mar-Apr;52(4-5):723-8. Epub 2007 Sep 8.

Cholinergic afferents to gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons of the rat.

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Laboratory of Endocrine Neurobiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1083 Budapest, Hungary.


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-synthesizing neurons represent the final common pathway in the hypothalamic regulation of reproduction and their secretory activity is influenced by a variety of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators acting centrally in synaptic afferents to gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. The present study examined the anatomical relationship of cholinergic neuronal pathways and gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons of the preoptic area. The immunocytochemical detection of choline acetyltransferase or vesicular acetylcholine transporter revealed a fine network of cholinergic fibers in this region. At the light microscopic level, the cholinergic axons formed appositions to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone immunoreactive cell bodies and dendrites. Results of electron microscopic studies confirmed the absence of glial interpositions in many of these neuronal contacts. Classical cholinergic synapses, which belonged to the asymmetric category, were only observed rarely on gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. The lack of synaptic density in most contacts corroborates previous observations on the cholinergic system elsewhere in the brain. Further, it suggests a dominantly non-synaptic route also in this cholinergic neuronal communication. This study provides direct neuromorphological evidence for the involvement of the cholinergic system in the afferent neuronal regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. The sources of cholinergic afferents and the receptorial mechanisms underlying this interaction will require further clarification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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