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Elife. 2019 Apr 4;8. pii: e43999. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43999.

Genetic dissection of the different roles of hypothalamic kisspeptin neurons in regulating female reproduction.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.


The brain regulates fertility through gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. Estradiol induces negative feedback on pulsatile GnRH/luteinizing hormone (LH) release and positive feedback generating preovulatory GnRH/LH surges. Negative and positive feedbacks are postulated to be mediated by kisspeptin neurons in arcuate and anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) nuclei, respectively. Kisspeptin-specific ERα knockout mice exhibit disrupted LH pulses and surges. This knockout approach is neither location-specific nor temporally controlled. We utilized CRISPR-Cas9 to disrupt ERα in adulthood. Mice with ERα disruption in AVPV kisspeptin neurons have typical reproductive cycles but blunted LH surges, associated with decreased excitability of these neurons. Mice with ERα knocked down in arcuate kisspeptin neurons showed disrupted cyclicity, associated with increased glutamatergic transmission to these neurons. These observations suggest that activational effects of estradiol regulate surge generation and maintain cyclicity through AVPV and arcuate kisspeptin neurons, respectively, independent from its role in the development of hypothalamic kisspeptin neurons or puberty onset.


CRISPR-Cas9; GnRH; estrogen receptor alpha; kisspeptin; mouse; neuroendocrine; neuroscience; reproduction

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