Neurokinin 3 receptor immunoreactivity in the septal region, preoptic area and hypothalamus of the female sheep: colocalisation in neurokinin B cells of the arcuate nucleus but not in gonadotrophin-releasing hormone neurones

J Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Jan;22(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01930.x. Epub 2009 Nov 14.


Recent evidence has implicated neurokinin B (NKB) in the complex neuronal network mediating the effects of gonadal steroids on the regulation of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. Because the neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R) is considered to mediate the effects of NKB at the cellular level, we determined the distribution of immunoreactive NK3R in the septal region, preoptic area (POA) and hypothalamus of the ewe. NK3R cells and/or fibres were found in areas including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, POA, anterior hypothalamic and perifornical areas, dopaminergic A15 region, dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamus, arcuate nucleus (ARC) and the ventral premammillary nucleus. We also used dual-label immunocytochemistry to determine whether a neuroanatomical basis for direct modulation of GnRH neurones by NKB was evident. No GnRH neurones at any rostral-caudal level were observed to contain NK3R immunoreactivity, although GnRH neurones and fibres were in proximity to NK3R-containing fibres. Because NKB fibres formed close contacts with NKB neurones in the ARC, we determined whether these NKB neurones also contained immunoreactive NK3R. In luteal-phase ewes, 64% +/- 11 of NKB neurones colocalised NK3R. In summary, NK3R is distributed in areas of the sheep POA and hypothalamus known to be involved in the control of reproductive neuroendocrine function. Colocalisation of NK3R in NKB neurones of the ARC suggests a potential mechanism for the autoregulation of this subpopulation; however, the lack of NK3R in GnRH neurones suggests that the actions of NKB on GnRH neurosecretory activity in the ewe are mediated indirectly via other neurones and/or neuropeptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Neurokinin B / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / metabolism*
  • Septal Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Sheep


  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Neurokinin B