Reproductive health is a window to overall health. Fifteen to 20% of couples have difficulty conceiving1;failures of the reproductive system thus affect a substantial population. Beyond fertility, sex steroids alter development and function of many systems, for example, bone, the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system. Episodic release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is required for fertility in all vertebrates of both sexes, and frequency shifts are essential for female reproductive cycles. The goal of this proposal is to increase our fundamental understanding of the generation of episodic release of GnRH as a critical link to understanding and modulating fertility. The proposed work will define intrinsic properties of GnRH neurons, local network interactions, and reciprocal communication with postulated driver neurons that coexpress kisspeptin, neurokinin B and dynorphin and are located in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (KNDy neurons). Our working model is that intrinsic and network mechanisms interact to produce the final synchronized episodic output of the GnRH neurosecretory system. We will study this system using state-of- the-art electrophysiological approaches combined with electrochemical measures of GnRH release in transgenic mice in which GnRH neurons and/or KNDy neurons are identified by expression of green or red fluorescent proteins. We have three specific aims.
In Aim 1, we will determine how intrinsic properties of GnRH neurons contribute to the firing of action potential bursts and the relation between activity and secretion in individual cells. We wil study how specific ionic conductances are altered as a burst of firing starts, proceeds and terminates, and how activity of a GnRH neuron relates to secretion from that cell.
In Aim 2, we will examine how burst firing (time course of seconds) relates to GnRH secretion (time course of minutes) in networks. To define synchrony in the GnRH network, we will perform long-term recordings of firing activity of GnRH neuron pairs in combination with electrochemical measurement of GnRH release. This will establish how the activity-secretion relationship in the single cell (Aim 1) is altered when the neuron is in the network. We will study and model how interburst interval is altered to produce peaks in firing activity. We will identify these mechanisms via iterative hypothesis-generating modeling and experimental testing. Finally, we will probe interactions among intrinsic and network properties of GnRH neurons by examining input preferences of GnRH neurons in comparison with actual input patterns.
In Aim 3, we will study KNDy neuron activity patterns, network interactions and reciprocal interactions with GnRH neurons. Recently, a working model has emerged that episodic release itself, the hallmark of the GnRH neurosecretory system, is itself driven from outside the GnRH network by KNDy neurons. We will directly test elements of the working hypothesis that KNDy neurons form a self-interactive network that drives GnRH activity through kisspeptin release. We also have preliminary data supporting the equally interesting hypothesis that GnRH feeds back to inhibit KNDy neuronal networks.

Public Health Relevance

The pattern of release of a hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), is critical for fertility. We are studying how this pattern is generated and how the timing is altered. This information can be used to help treat infertility.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Integrative and Clinical Endocrinology and Reproduction Study Section (ICER)
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Lamar, Charisee A
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
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Vanacker, Charlotte; Moya, Manuel Ricu; DeFazio, R Anthony et al. (2017) Long-Term Recordings of Arcuate Nucleus Kisspeptin Neurons Reveal Patterned Activity That Is Modulated by Gonadal Steroids in Male Mice. Endocrinology 158:3553-3564
Ruka, Kristen A; Burger, Laura L; Moenter, Suzanne M (2016) Both Estrogen and Androgen Modify the Response to Activation of Neurokinin-3 and ?-Opioid Receptors in Arcuate Kisspeptin Neurons From Male Mice. Endocrinology 157:752-63
Moran, Spencer; Moenter, Suzanne M; Khadra, Anmar (2016) A unified model for two modes of bursting in GnRH neurons. J Comput Neurosci 40:297-315
Moenter, Suzanne M (2015) Leap of Faith: Does Serum Luteinizing Hormone Always Accurately Reflect Central Reproductive Neuroendocrine Activity? Neuroendocrinology 102:256-266
Glanowska, Katarzyna M; Moenter, Suzanne M (2015) Differential regulation of GnRH secretion in the preoptic area (POA) and the median eminence (ME) in male mice. Endocrinology 156:231-41
Glanowska, Katarzyna M; Burger, Laura L; Moenter, Suzanne M (2014) Development of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion and pituitary response. J Neurosci 34:15060-9
Gaskins, Garrett T; Glanowska, Katarzyna M; Moenter, Suzanne M (2013) Activation of neurokinin 3 receptors stimulates GnRH release in a location-dependent but kisspeptin-independent manner in adult mice. Endocrinology 154:3984-9
Ruka, Kristen A; Burger, Laura L; Moenter, Suzanne M (2013) Regulation of arcuate neurons coexpressing kisspeptin, neurokinin B, and dynorphin by modulators of neurokinin 3 and ?-opioid receptors in adult male mice. Endocrinology 154:2761-71
Glanowska, Katarzyna M; Venton, B Jill; Moenter, Suzanne M (2012) Fast scan cyclic voltammetry as a novel method for detection of real-time gonadotropin-releasing hormone release in mouse brain slices. J Neurosci 32:14664-9
Chu, Z; Tomaiuolo, M; Bertram, R et al. (2012) Two types of burst firing in gonadotrophin-releasing hormone neurones. J Neuroendocrinol 24:1065-77

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