Colocalization of kisspeptin and gonadotropin-releasing hormone in the ovine brain

Endocrinology. 2006 Feb;147(2):804-10. doi: 10.1210/en.2005-1123. Epub 2005 Nov 17.


Kisspeptin is a peptide that has been implicated in the regulation of GnRH cells in the brain. Immunohistochemical studies were undertaken to examine the distribution of kisspeptin-immunoreactive (IR) cells in the ovine diencephalon and determine the effect of ovariectomy in the ewe. We report that kisspeptin colocalizes to a high proportion of GnRH-IR cells in the preoptic area, which is a novel finding. A high level of colocalization of kisspeptin and GnRH was also seen in varicose neuronal fibers within the external, neurosecretory zone of the median eminence. Apart from the kisspeptin/GnRH cells, a population of single-labeling kisspeptin-IR cells was also observed in the preoptic area. Within the hypothalamus, kisspeptin-IR cells were found predominantly in the arcuate nucleus, and there was an increase in the number of immunohistochemically identified cell within this nucleus after ovariectomy. Kisspeptin-IR cells were also found in the periventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, but the number observed was similar in gonad-intact and ovariectomized ewes. The colocalization of GnRH and kisspeptin within cells of the preoptic area and GnRH neurosecretory terminals of the median eminence suggests that the two peptides might be cosecreted into the hypophyseal portal blood to act on the pituitary gland. Effects of ovariectomy on the non-GnRH, Kisspeptin-IR cells of the hypothalamus suggest that kisspeptin production is negatively regulated by ovarian steroids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagonal Band of Broca / metabolism*
  • Diencephalon / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Median Eminence / metabolism
  • Midline Thalamic Nuclei / metabolism
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Preoptic Area / cytology
  • Preoptic Area / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sheep
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone