Changes in hypothalamic KiSS-1 system and restoration of pubertal activation of the reproductive axis by kisspeptin in undernutrition

Endocrinology. 2005 Sep;146(9):3917-25. doi: 10.1210/en.2005-0337. Epub 2005 Jun 2.


Activation of the gonadotropic axis critically depends on sufficient body energy stores, and conditions of negative energy balance result in lack of puberty onset and reproductive failure. Recently, KiSS-1 gene-derived kisspeptin, signaling through the G protein-coupled receptor 54 (GPR54), has been proven as a pivotal regulator in the control of gonadotropin secretion and puberty. However, the impact of body energy status upon hypothalamic expression and function of this system remains unexplored. In this work, we evaluated the expression of KiSS-1 and GPR54 genes at the hypothalamus as well as the ability of kisspeptin-10 to elicit GnRH and LH secretion in prepubertal rats under short-term fasting. In addition, we monitored the actions of kisspeptin on food intake and the effects of its chronic administration upon puberty onset in undernutrition. Food deprivation induced a concomitant decrease in hypothalamic KiSS-1 and increase in GPR54 mRNA levels in prepubertal rats. In addition, LH responses to kisspeptin in vivo were enhanced, and its GnRH secretagogue action in vitro was sensitized, under fasting conditions. Central kisspeptin administration failed to change food intake patterns in animals fed ad libitum or after a 12-h fast. However, chronic treatment with kisspeptin was able to restore vaginal opening (in approximately 60%) and to elicit gonadotropin and estrogen responses in a model of undernutrition. In summary, our data are the first to show an interaction between energy status and the hypothalamic KiSS-1 system, which may constitute a target for disruption (and eventual therapeutic intervention) of pubertal development in conditions of negative energy balance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation / physiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Kisspeptins
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / physiopathology*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Kisspeptin-1
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology


  • Kiss1 protein, rat
  • Kiss1r protein, rat
  • Kisspeptins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Kisspeptin-1
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide