Anatomy of the kisspeptin neural network in mammals

Brain Res. 2010 Dec 10;1364:90-102. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.09.020. Epub 2010 Sep 19.


Kisspeptin has been recognized as a key regulator of GnRH secretion during puberty and adulthood, conveying the feedback influence of endogenous gonadal steroids onto the GnRH system. Understanding the functional roles of this peptide depends on knowledge of the anatomical framework in which it acts, including the location of kisspeptin-expressing cells in the brain and their connections. In this paper, we review current data on the anatomy of the kisspeptin neuronal network, including its colocalization with gonadal steroid hormone receptors, anatomical sites of interaction with the GnRH system, and recent evidence of neurochemical heterogeneity among different kisspeptin neuronal populations. Evidence to date suggests that kisspeptin cells in mammals comprise an interconnected network, with reciprocal connections both within and between separate cell populations, and with GnRH neurons. At the same time, there is more functional and anatomical heterogeneity in this system than originally thought, and many unanswered questions remain concerning anatomical relationships of kisspeptin neurons with other neuroendocrine and neural systems in the brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Kisspeptins
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Steroid / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology*


  • KISS1 protein, human
  • Kisspeptins
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone