Function-related structural plasticity of the GnRH system: a role for neuronal-glial-endothelial interactions

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2010 Jul;31(3):241-58. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


As the final common pathway for the central control of gonadotropin secretion, GnRH neurons are subjected to numerous regulatory homeostatic and external factors to achieve levels of fertility appropriate to the organism. The GnRH system thus provides an excellent model in which to investigate the complex relationships between neurosecretion, morphological plasticity and the expression of a physiological function. Throughout the reproductive cycle beginning from postnatal sexual development and the onset of puberty to reproductive senescence, and even within the ovarian cycle itself, all levels of the GnRH system undergo morphological plasticity. This structural plasticity within the GnRH system appears crucial to the timely control of reproductive competence within the individual, and as such must have coordinated actions of multiple signals secreted from glial cells, endothelial cells, and GnRH neurons. Thus, the GnRH system must be viewed as a complete neuro-glial-vascular unit that works in concert to maintain the reproductive axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Puberty / metabolism
  • Puberty / physiology
  • Receptors, LHRH / metabolism
  • Receptors, LHRH / physiology


  • Receptors, LHRH
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone