Gonadotropins and Gonadal Steroid Feedback
Evidence for GnRH Regulation by Leptin: Leptin Administration Prevents Reduced Pulsatile LH Secretion during FastingNagatani S.a · Guthikonda P.a · Thompson R.C.a · Tsukamura H.c · Maeda K.-I.c · Foster D.L.a,b
a Reproductive Sciences Program and b Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA; c School of Agricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
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Administration of leptin during undernutrition improves reproductive function, but whether this occurs at the level of the brain, pituitary, or gonads is not yet clear. The present study tested the hypothesis that one important mechanism is the control of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. Our approach was to determine if leptin could prevent the marked suppression of pulsatile luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion which occurs during fasting. Leptin (3 µg/g i.p.; three times/48 h) or vehicle was administered during a 48-hour fast in adult ovariectomized and estrogen-treated ovariectomized rats (n = 5–7/group). LH was measured in blood samples collected every 6 min for 2 h before and after fasting. In vehicle-treated animals, plasma insulin and leptin levels decreased after fasting. As expected, the LH pulse frequency also decreased markedly. When circulating leptin remained artificially elevated during fasting, the suppression of LH pulse frequency did not occur. Leptin treatment maintained a high LH pulse frequency in the presence or absence of estrogen. The finding that leptin modulates LH pulse frequency indicates that this fat-derived hormone conveys information about nutrition to mechanisms which regulate pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion. Because this occurs in the absence of estrogen, the mechanism does not necessarily involve modulation of negative feedback.
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