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Developmental and steroidogenic effects on the gene expression of RFamide related peptides and their receptor in the rat brain and pituitary gland.

  • Quennell, J H
  • Rizwan, M Z
  • Relf, H-L
  • Anderson, G M
Published Article
Journal of Neuroendocrinology
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2010
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2010.01963.x
PMID: 20136694


RFamide related peptides (RFRPs) have been extensively implicated in the neuroendocrine control of reproduction. While steroid hormones strongly regulate the closely-related kisspeptin gene and protein expression, the regulation of RFRPs or their receptor by steroid hormones is almost unknown. The present study aimed to quantify relative levels of RFRP and Kiss1 gene expression and their G protein-coupled receptors (GPR147 and GPR54, respectively) in various brain areas and the pituitary gland, and to determine the effects of differing levels of oestradiol and pubertal development on levels of these gene products. In Experiment 1, the treatment groups examined were: dioestrus, ovariectomised and ovariectomised with replacement oestradiol to induce a preovulatory-like luteinising hormone surge. Micropunched brain regions and whole pituitary glands were processed for measurement of RFRP, Kiss1, GPR147 and GPR54 mRNA by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. As expected, Kiss1 gene expression was low in the rostral periventricular area of the third ventricle of ovariectomised animals, whereas levels were highest in the arcuate nucleus in this situation. No such oestrogenic effects were observed for RFRP gene expression. GPR147 gene expression was highest in the rostral periventricular region of the third ventricle. The levels of GPR147 and GPR54 mRNA were markedly lower in the pituitary gland than in the hypothalamic regions, and RFRP and Kiss1 mRNA were virtually undetectable in the pituitary gland. These data imply that the actions of RFamides are likely to be predominantly central in nature. In Experiment 2, hypothalamic RFRP and GPR147 mRNA levels were measured in male and female rats aged 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks. In females, RFRP gene expression increased with developmental age, peaking around the time of puberty, whereas in males gene expression increased between 2 and 4 weeks of age. These results suggest a role in the regulation of adult reproduction rather that prepubertal infertility.

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