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Endocrinology. 1998 Jun;139(6):2734-40.

Luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) neurons maintained in nasal explants decrease LHRH messenger ribonucleic acid levels after activation of GABA(A) receptors.

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Laboratory of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4130, USA.


Inhibition of the LHRH system appears to play an important role in preventing precocious activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Evidence points to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as the major negative regulator of postnatal LHRH neuronal activity. Changes in LHRH messenger RNA (mRNA) levels after alterations of GABAergic activity have been reported in vivo. However, the extent to which GABA acts directly on LHRH neurons to effect LHRH mRNA levels has been difficult to ascertain. The present work evaluates the effect of GABAergic activity, via GABA(A) receptors, on LHRH neuropeptide gene expression in LHRH neurons maintained in olfactory explants generated from E11.5 mouse embryos. These explants maintain large numbers of primary LHRH neurons that migrate from bilateral olfactory pits in a directed manner. Using in situ hybridization histochemistry and single cell analysis, we report dramatic alterations in LHRH mRNA levels. Inhibition of spontaneous synaptic activity by GABA(A) antagonists, bicuculline (10(-5) M) or picrotoxin (10(-4) M), or of electrical activity by tetrodotoxin (TTX, 10(-6) M) significantly increased LHRH mRNA levels. In contrast, LHRH mRNA levels decreased in explants cultured with the GABA(A) receptor agonist, muscimol (10(-4) M), or KCl (50 mM). The observed responses suggest that LHRH neurons possess functional pathways linking GABA(A) receptors to repression of neuropeptide gene expression and indicate that gene expression in embryonic LHRH neurons, outside the CNS, is highly responsive to alterations in neuronal activity.

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