Ultrastructural evidence of kisspeptin-gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) interaction in the median eminence of female rats: implication of axo-axonal regulation of GnRH release

J Neuroendocrinol. 2011 Oct;23(10):863-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2011.02199.x.


The present study was conducted to determine the morphological and functional interaction between kisspeptin and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuronal elements at the median eminence in female rats to clarify a possibility that kisspeptin directly stimulates GnRH release at the nerve end. A dual immunoelectron microscopic study of kisspeptin and GnRH showed that the kisspeptin-immunoreactive nerve element directly abutted the GnRH-immunoreactive nerve element, although no obvious synaptic structure was found between kisspeptin and GnRH neurones in the median eminence. The current retrograde tracing study with FluoroGold (FG) indicates that kisspeptin neurones are not in contact with fenestrated capillaries because no FG signal was found in kisspeptin neurones when the FG was injected peripherally. This peripheral FG injection revealed the neuroendocrine neurones projecting to the median eminence because FG-positive GnRH neuronal cell bodies were found in the preoptic area. Synthetic rat kisspeptin (1-52)-amide stimulated GnRH release from the median eminence tissues in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, the present results suggest that kisspeptin at least partly exerts stimulatory effects on GnRH release from the neuronal terminals of GnRH neurones by axo-axonal nonsynaptic interaction in the median eminence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons*
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kisspeptins / metabolism*
  • Median Eminence / metabolism*
  • Median Eminence / ultrastructure
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Kiss1 protein, rat
  • Kisspeptins
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone