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Front Neuroendocrinol. 2004 Jul;25(2):108-30.

Ontogeny of GnRH and olfactory neuronal systems in man: novel insights from the investigation of inherited forms of Kallmann's syndrome.

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Department of Medicine, Neuroendocrinology Unit, Upper Third Floor, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College of London, NW3 2PF, London, UK.


GnRH embryonic neuronal fate is determined by discreet spatio-temporal expression patterns and interactions of axonal guidance and cell adhesion molecules and extracellular matrix proteins. Expression of several transcription factors, locally derived growth factors and neurotransmitters influence GnRH ontogeny and rostral forebrain specification. In man, disrupted GnRH neuronal ontogeny can be caused by several monogenic disorders leading to isolated hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (IHH); these include mutations within KAL-1, GnRH-R, and FGFR1. Mutations in KAL-1 and its encoded protein anosmin-1, causes X-linked Kallmann's syndrome (XKS) characterized by IHH, anosmia, synkinesis, and unilateral renal agenesis. Anosmin-1 has an obligate functional interaction with membrane associated heparan sulphate proteoglycans (HSPG) and FGFR-1 (KAL-2) whose mutations lead to the autosomal dominant form of KS (AKS). FGFR1 and anosmin-1 may interact via a HSPG dependent mechanism raising the possibility of interaction between two single gene defects cause similar phenotypic abnormalities.

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