Hypothalamic kisspeptin neurons stimulate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) release. Kisspeptin neurons in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) of rats induce an LH surge for ovulation, and those in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) regulate pulsatile LH secretion for follicle development and spermatogenesis. Dysfunction of kisspeptin neurons thus reduces the reproductive function. This review focuses on the effect of androgen or aging on kisspeptin expression in rats. Although androgen directly suppresses ARC kisspeptin neurons in female rats, the AVPV kisspeptin neurons are hardly affected. In rats, plasma LH concentrations decrease in both sexes with aging, and ARC kisspeptin expression also decreases in old rats compared with young rats. In addition, kisspeptin neurons may be associated with hyperprolactinemia in old female rats because they are known to release prolactin through hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic (TIDA) neurons. Hypothalamic kisspeptin neurons are thus the main regulator to secrete LH, and inhibition of kisspeptin expression leads to various kinds of reproductive dysfunction.
Keywords: Kiss1; androgen; dopaminergic neuron; dynorphin; neurokinin B.
2019 The Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry.