That oestradiol can have both negative- and positive-feedback actions upon the release of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) has been understood for decades. The vast majority of studies have investigated the effects of in vivo oestrogen administration. In the past decade, evidence has accumulated in many neuronal and non-neuronal systems indicating that, in addition to traditional genomic action via transcription factor receptors, steroids can also initiate effects rapidly via signalling cascades typically associated with the cell membrane. Here, we review work examining the rapid actions of oestradiol on GnRH neurones, addressing the questions of dose dependence, receptor subtypes, signalling cascades and intrinsic and synaptic properties that are rapidly modulated by this steroid.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Neuroendocrinology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.