Obesity and anorexia result in dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, negatively impacting reproduction. Ghrelin, secreted from the stomach, potentially mediates negative energy states and neuroendocrine control of reproduction by acting through the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR). GHSR is expressed in hypothalamic arcuate (ARC) Kisspeptin/Neurokinin B (Tac2)/Dynorphin (KNDy) neurons. Ghrelin is known to inhibit the M-current produced by KCNQ channels in other ARC neurons. In addition, we have shown 17β-estradiol (E2) increases Ghsr expression in KNDy neurons 6-fold and increases the M-current in NPY neurons. We hypothesize that E2 increases GHSR expression in KNDy neurons to increase ghrelin sensitivity during negative energy states. Furthermore, we suspect ghrelin targets the M-current in KNDy neurons to control reproduction and energy homeostasis. We utilized ovariectomized Tac2-EGFP adult female mice, pretreated with estradiol benzoate (EB) or oil vehicle and performed whole-cell-patch-clamp recordings to elicit the M-current in KNDy neurons using standard activation protocols in voltage-clamp. Using the selective KCNQ channel blocker XE-991 (40 µM) to target the M-current, oil- and EB-treated mice showed a decrease in the maximum peak current by 75.7 ± 13.8 pA (n = 10) and 68.0 ± 14.7 pA (n = 11), respectively. To determine the actions of ghrelin on the M-current, ghrelin was perfused (100 nM) in oil- and EB-treated mice resulting in the suppression of the maximum peak current by 58.5 ± 15.8 pA (n = 9) and 59.2 ± 11.9 pA (n = 9), respectively. KNDy neurons appeared more sensitive to ghrelin when pretreated with EB, revealing that ARC KNDy neurons are more sensitive to ghrelin during states of high E2.
Keywords: Arcuate nucleus; Electrophysiology; Estrogen receptor α; Ghrelin; Growth hormone secretagogue receptor; M-current.
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.