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Mol Endocrinol. 2011 May;25(5):833-46. doi: 10.1210/me.2010-0271. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

Deletion of Otx2 in GnRH neurons results in a mouse model of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

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Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


GnRH is the central regulator of reproductive function responding to central nervous system cues to control gonadotropin synthesis and secretion. GnRH neurons originate in the olfactory placode and migrate to the forebrain, in which they are found in a scattered distribution. Congenital idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CIHH) has been associated with mutations or deletions in a number of genes that participate in the development of GnRH neurons and expression of GnRH. Despite the critical role of GnRH in mammalian reproduction, a comprehensive understanding of the developmental factors that are responsible for regulating the establishment of mature GnRH neurons and the expression of GnRH is lacking. orthodenticle homeobox 2 (OTX2), a homeodomain protein required for the formation of the forebrain, has been shown to be expressed in GnRH neurons, up-regulated during GnRH neuronal development, and responsible for increased GnRH promoter activity in GnRH neuronal cell lines. Interestingly, mutations in Otx2 have been associated with human hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, but the mechanism by which Otx2 mutations cause CIHH is unknown. Here we show that deletion of Otx2 in GnRH neurons results in a significant decrease in GnRH neurons in the hypothalamus, a delay in pubertal onset, abnormal estrous cyclicity, and infertility. Taken together, these data provide in vivo evidence that Otx2 is critical for GnRH expression and reproductive competence.

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