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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Preferential induction of c-fos immunoreactivity in vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-innervated gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons during a steroid-induced luteinizing hormone surge in the female rat.

In small rodents, reproduction is critically dependent on the integrity of the circadian oscillator of the brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Lesions of the SCN induce persistent estrus (anovulation) in intact female rats, whereas estrogen implantation in ovariectomized rats results in daily LH surges, which disappear after SCN lesions. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide ( VIP), a peptide synthesized in cell bodies of the SCN, has been implicated in the regulation of LH release. Recently, we have provided immunocytochemical evidence for a VIP-containing neuronal projection from the SCN to the GnRH system. This suggests that VIP from the SCN may modulate LH release via a direct influence on GnRH neurons. To investigate the involvement of VIP input on GnRH neurons and SCN neurons in the generation of a LH surge, we used immunoreactive c-fos as a marker for cell activation in ovariectomized mature rats and immature rats treated with steroids. VIP-containing fibers were observed in apposition to a substantial portion of the GnRH neurons containing c-fos. Expression of c-fos was more frequently observed in VIP-innervated GnRH neurons than in GnRH neurons in general. This difference in activation was most pronounced during the onset of the LH surge. In SCN neurons, steroid treatment did not induce c-fos immunoreactivity before or during the LH surge. The present results indicate that VIP-containing fibers, possibly originating in the SCN, are involved in the initiation of the LH surge. In view of the reported inhibitory effects of VIP on LH release, it is suggested that the role of VIP input in this respect is permissive.[1]


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