Neurokinin B and the control of the gonadotropic axis in the rat: developmental changes, sexual dimorphism, and regulation by gonadal steroids.
Neurokinin B (NKB), encoded by Tac2 in rodents, and its receptor, NK3R, have recently emerged as important regulators of reproduction; NKB has been proposed to stimulate kisspeptin output onto GnRH neurons. Accordingly, NKB has been shown to induce gonadotropin release in several species; yet, null or even inhibitory effects of NKB have been also reported. The basis for these discrepant findings, as well as other key aspects of NKB function, remains unknown. We report here that in the rat, LH responses to the NK3R agonist, senktide, display a salient sexual dimorphism, with persistent stimulation in females, regardless of the stage of postnatal development, and lack of LH responses in males from puberty onward. Such dimorphism was independent of the predominant sex steroid after puberty, because testosterone administration to adult females failed to prevent LH responses to senktide, and LH responsiveness was not restored in adult males treated with estradiol or the nonaromatizable androgen, dihydrotestosterone. Yet, removal of sex steroids by gonadectomy switched senktide effects to inhibitory, both in adult male and female rats. Sexual dimorphism was also evident in the numbers of NKB-positive neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), which were higher in adult female rats. This is likely the result of differences in sex steroid milieu during early periods of brain differentiation, because neonatal exposures to high doses of estrogen decreased ARC NKB neurons at later developmental stages. Likewise, neonatal estrogenization resulted in lower serum LH levels that were normalized by senktide administration. Finally, we document that the ability of estrogen to inhibit hypothalamic Tac2 expression seems region specific, because estrogen administration decreased Tac2 levels in the ARC but increased them in the lateral hypothalamus. Altogether, our data provide a deeper insight into relevant aspects of NKB function as major regulator of the gonadotropic axis in the rat, including maturational changes, sexual dimorphism, and differential regulation by sex steroids.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Córdoba, 14004 Córdoba, Spain.
SourceEndocrinology 153:10 2012 Oct pg 4818-29
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't