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J Neurosci. 2008 Aug 6;28(32):8003-13. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1225-08.2008.

Excitatory effects of the puberty-initiating peptide kisspeptin and group I metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists differentiate two distinct subpopulations of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine and Ribicoff Research Facilities, Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Connecticut 06508, USA.


Activation of the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR54 by kisspeptins during normal puberty promotes the central release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that, in turn, leads to reproductive maturation. In humans and mice, a loss of function mutations of GPR54 prevents the onset of puberty and leads to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and infertility. Using electrophysiological, morphological, molecular, and retrograde-labeling techniques in brain slices prepared from vGluT2-GFP and GnRH-GFP mice, we demonstrate the existence of two physiologically distinct subpopulations of GnRH neurons. The first subpopulation is comprised of septal GnRH neurons that colocalize vesicular glutamate transporter 2 and green fluorescent protein and is insensitive to metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists, but is exquisitely sensitive to kisspeptin which closes potassium channels to dramatically initiate a long-lasting activation in neurons from prepubertal and postpubertal mice of both sexes. A second subpopulation is insensitive to kisspeptin but is uniquely activated by group I metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists. These two physiologically distinct classes of GnRH cells may subserve different functions in the central control of reproduction and fertility.

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