Follicle-stimulating hormone responses to kisspeptin in the female rat at the preovulatory period: modulation by estrogen and progesterone receptors

Endocrinology. 2008 Nov;149(11):5783-90. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-0604. Epub 2008 Jul 17.


Ovulation is triggered by the preovulatory surge of gonadotropins that, in rodents, is defined by the concomitant rise in circulating LH and FSH at the afternoon of proestrus (primary surge), followed by persistently elevated FSH levels at early estrus (secondary surge). In recent years, kisspeptins, products of the KiSS-1 gene that act via G protein-coupled receptor 54, have emerged as an essential hypothalamic conduit for the generation of the preovulatory LH surge by conveying positive feedback effects of estradiol onto GnRH neurons, an event that involves not only estradiol-induced transcription of the KiSS-1 gene at the anteroventral periventricular nucleus but also its ability to modulate GnRH/LH responses to kisspeptin. However, little is known about the potential modulation of FSH responsiveness to kisspeptin by sex steroids in the cyclic female. We report herein analyses on the consequences of selective blockade of estrogen receptors (ER)-alpha and -beta, as well as progesterone receptor (PR), on the ovulatory surges of FSH and their modulation by kisspeptin. Antagonism of ERalpha or PR equally blunted the primary and secondary surges of FSH and nullified FSH responses to kisspeptin at the preovulatory period. Conversely, selective blockade of ERbeta failed to induce major changes in terms of endogenous FSH surges, yet it decreased FSH responses to exogenous kisspeptin. In contrast, FSH responses to GnRH were fully conserved after ERbeta blockade and partially preserved after inhibition of ERalpha and PR signaling. Finally, secondary FSH secretion was rescued by kisspeptin in females with selective blockade of ERalpha but not PR. In sum, our results substantiate a concurrent, indispensable role of ERalpha and PR in the generation of FSH surges and the stimulation of FSH responses to kisspeptin at the ovulatory period. In addition, our data suggest that ERbeta might operate as a subtle, positive modulator of the preovulatory FSH responses to kisspeptin, a role that is opposite to its putative inhibitory action on kisspeptin-induced LH secretion and might contribute to the dissociation of gonadotropin secretion at the ovulatory phase in the cyclic female rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrenes / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism*
  • Follicular Phase / blood
  • Follicular Phase / drug effects*
  • Follicular Phase / metabolism
  • Furans / pharmacology
  • Hormone Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Kisspeptins
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Estrogen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Estrogen / physiology*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Progesterone / physiology*


  • Estrenes
  • Furans
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Kiss1 protein, rat
  • Kisspeptins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Org 31710
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone