Hypothalamic neuronal populations are central regulators of energy homeostasis and reproductive function. However, the ontogeny of these critical hypothalamic neuronal populations is largely unknown. We developed a novel approach to examine the developmental pathways that link specific subtypes of neurons by combining embryonic and adult ribosome-tagging strategies in mice. This new method shows that Pomc-expressing precursors not only differentiate into discrete neuronal populations that mediate energy balance (POMC and AgRP neurons), but also into neurons critical for puberty onset and the regulation of reproductive function (Kiss1 neurons). These results demonstrate a developmental link between nutrient-sensing and reproductive neuropeptide synthesizing neuronal populations and suggest a potential pathway that could link maternal nutrition to reproductive development in the offspring.
Keywords: gene expression; hypothalamus; metabolism; reproduction.
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