Kisspeptin and energy balance in reproduction

Reproduction. 2014 Feb 3;147(3):R53-63. doi: 10.1530/REP-13-0509. Print 2014 Mar.


Kisspeptin is vital for the neuroendocrine regulation of GNRH secretion. Kisspeptin neurons are now recognized as a central pathway responsible for conveying key homeostatic information to GNRH neurons. This pathway is likely to mediate the well-established link between energy balance and reproductive function. Thus, in states of severely altered energy balance (either negative or positive), fertility is compromised, as is Kiss1 expression in the arcuate nucleus. A number of metabolic modulators have been proposed as regulators of kisspeptin neurons including leptin, ghrelin, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), and neuropeptide Y (NPY). Whether these regulate kisspeptin neurons directly or indirectly will be discussed. Moreover, whether the stimulatory role of leptin on reproduction is mediated by kisspeptin directly will be questioned. Furthermore, in addition to being expressed in GNRH neurons, the kisspeptin receptor (Kiss1r) is also expressed in other areas of the brain, as well as in the periphery, suggesting alternative roles for kisspeptin signaling outside of reproduction. Interestingly, kisspeptin neurons are anatomically linked to, and can directly excite, anorexigenic POMC neurons and indirectly inhibit orexigenic NPY neurons. Thus, kisspeptin may have a direct role in regulating energy balance. Although data from Kiss1r knockout and WT mice found no differences in body weight, recent data indicate that kisspeptin may still play a role in food intake and glucose homeostasis. Thus, in addition to regulating reproduction, and mediating the effect of energy balance on reproductive function, kisspeptin signaling may also be a direct regulator of metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism* / genetics
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kisspeptins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Puberty / genetics
  • Puberty / metabolism
  • Reproduction* / genetics
  • Sexual Maturation / genetics


  • Kisspeptins