Kisspeptin, neurokinin B (NKB) and dynorphin A are coexpressed in a population of neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), termed KNDy neurons, which were recently recognized as important elements for the generation of GnRH pulses. However, the topographic distribution of these peptides and their regulated expression by sex steroids are still not well understood. In this study, detailed examination of NKB and kisspeptin immunoreactivity in the rat ARC was carried out, including comparison between sexes, with and without sex steroid replacement. Neurons expressing kisspeptin and NKB were more prominent in the caudal ARC of females, whereas neurons expressing NKB, but not kisspeptin, were the most abundant in the male. Sex steroid manipulation revealed differential regulation of kisspeptin and NKB; although kisspeptin immunoreactive (ir) cells increased in response to gonadectomy, NKB remained unchanged. Furthermore, the number of NKB-ir cells increased upon sex steroid replacement compared with gonadectomy, whereas kisspeptin did not, suggesting that sex steroids differently regulate these peptides. In addition, only in females did the density of kisspeptin- and NKB-ir fibers in the ARC increase upon sex steroid replacement in relation to sham and ovariectomy, respectively, suggesting sex-specific regulation of release. In conclusion, our observations reveal sex differences in the number of kisspeptin- and NKB-ir cells, which are more prominent in the caudal ARC. The divergent regulation of kisspeptin and NKB peptide contents in the ARC as a function of sex and steroid milieu enlarge our understanding on how these neuropeptides are posttranscriptionally regulated in KNDy neurons.
Endocrinology, 2014, Vol 155, Issue 10, p. 3945-3955
Animals; Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus; Castration; Cell Count; Dynorphins; Female; Gonadal Steroid Hormones; Kisspeptins; Male; Neurokinin B; Neurons; Rats; Rats, Wistar; Sex Characteristics; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't