Origin and development of GnRH neurons

Trends Endocrinol Metab. May-Jun 2005;16(4):145-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2005.03.005.


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is an essential decapeptide, with both endocrine and neuromodulatory functions in vertebrates. GnRH-containing cells of the forebrain were thought to originate in the olfactory placode and migrate to their central nervous system destinations, and those of the midbrain to arise locally from the neural tube. Here, the embryonic origins of GnRH cells are re-examined in light of recent data suggesting that forebrain GnRH cells arise from the anterior pituitary placode and cranial neural crest, from where they migrate to their final destinations. The emerging picture suggests that GnRH cells do not originate from the olfactory placodes, but arise from multiple embryonic origins, and transiently associate with the developing olfactory system as they migrate to ventral forebrain locations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Embryonic Development / physiology
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology*
  • Growth / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Prosencephalon / cytology
  • Prosencephalon / embryology
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism
  • Telencephalon / cytology
  • Telencephalon / metabolism


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone