The effects of gonadal steroid manipulation on the expression of Kiss1 mRNA in rat arcuate nucleus during postnatal development

J Physiol Sci. 2012 Nov;62(6):453-60. doi: 10.1007/s12576-012-0222-y. Epub 2012 Aug 1.


Kisspeptins, encoded by Kiss1 gene, play pivotal roles in the regulation of reproduction. Recently, several studies reported a sex difference in Kiss1 expression in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) during the neonatal period. In this study, we investigated the effect of gonadal steroid manipulation on the sex difference in Kiss1 expression in ARC of rats. At neonatal and prepubertal stages, females had a greater number of Kiss1 neurons than the males. Gonadectomy at those stages resulted in significant increases in the Kiss1 neuron number and the sex differences disappeared. We also confirmed the expression of estrogen receptor α in kisspeptin neurons in neonates. Altogether, our results indicate that ARC Kiss1 expression is negatively regulated by gonadal steroids from early postnatal stages, and that the sex difference in ARC Kiss1 expression is attributed to the difference in circulating gonadal steroid levels. We also found that neonatal estrogenization inhibits Kiss1 expression and impairs negative feedback system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Kisspeptins / biosynthesis*
  • Kisspeptins / genetics*
  • Male
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Kiss1 protein, rat
  • Kisspeptins
  • RNA, Messenger