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Neuroscience. 1998 May;84(1):177-91.

Semi-quantitative ultrastructural analysis of the localization and neuropeptide content of gonadotropin releasing hormone nerve terminals in the median eminence throughout the estrous cycle of the rat.

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U 422 Institut National de la Santé et de La Recherche Médicale, Lille, France.


The ultrastructural appearance of gonadotropin releasing hormone-immunoreactive elements was studied in the external zone of the median eminence of adult female Wistar rats. On the one hand, the purpose of the study was to determine the distribution of gonadotropin releasing hormone terminals towards the parenchymatous basal lamina at the level of hypothalamo-hypophyseal portal vessels, throughout the estrous cycle. On the other hand, we have semi-quantified the gonadotropin releasing hormone content in nerve terminals or preterminals during this physiological condition. A morphometric study was coupled to a colloidal 15 mn gold postembedding immunocytochemistry procedure. Animals were killed at 09.00 on diestrus II, 0.900, 10.00, 13.00, 17.00 and 18.00 on proestrus and 09.00 on estrus (n = 4-8 rats/group). A preliminary light microscopic study was carried out to identify an antero-posterior part of median eminence strongly immunostained by anti-gonadotropin releasing hormone antibodies but which was, in addition, easily spotted. This last condition was necessary to make a good comparison between each animal. Contacts between gonadotropin releasing hormone nerve terminals and the basal lamina were observed only the day of proestrus. Such contacts, however, were rare and in the great majority of cases, gonadotropin releasing hormone terminals are separated from basal lamina by tanycytic end feet. The morphometric analysis showed no significant variation in average distance between gonadotropin releasing hormone terminals and capillaries throughout the estrous cycle. Consequently, it did not appear that a large neuroglial plasticity exists during the estrous cycle. However, the observation of contacts only on proestrus together with some ultrastructural images evoke the possibility of a slight plasticity. The semi-quantitative results show that the content of gonadotropin releasing hormone in the nerve endings presented two peaks on proestrus: one at 09.00 (23 +/- 5 particles/micrograms2, P < 0.03) before the onset of luteinizing hormone surge, and the second at 18.00 (16 +/- 2 particles/micrograms2, P < 0.01) concomitantly with the luteinizing hormone surge, when compared to baseline values on proestrus 10.00 (8 +/- particles/micrograms2).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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