Seasonal morphological changes in the neuro-glial interaction between gonadotropin-releasing hormone nerve terminals and glial endfeet in Japanese quail

Endocrinology. 2004 Sep;145(9):4264-7. doi: 10.1210/en.2004-0366. Epub 2004 Jun 3.


In a previous study we showed that photoperiodically generated T3 in the hypothalamus is critical for the photoperiodic response of gonads in Japanese quail. The expression of thyroid hormone receptors in the median eminence (ME) suggested that photoperiodically generated T3 acts on the ME. Because thyroid hormone is known to play a critical role in the development and plasticity of the central nervous system, in the present study we have examined ultrastructure of the ME in Japanese quail kept in short-day and long-day environments. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that GnRH nerve terminals are in close proximity to the basal lamina under long-day conditions, and conventional transmission electron microscopy demonstrated the encasement of the terminals by the endfeet of glia under short-day conditions. These morphological changes may regulate photoperiodic GnRH secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Coturnix
  • Gonadotropins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Median Eminence / cytology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Photoperiod
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Seasons
  • Triiodothyronine / metabolism


  • Gonadotropins
  • Triiodothyronine