Mitochondrial dysfunction in GnRH neurons impaired GnRH production

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Sep 10;530(1):329-335. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.07.090. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


The onset establishment and maintenance of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion is an important phenomenon regulating pubertal development and reproduction. GnRH neurons as well as other neurons in the hypothalamus have high-energy demands and require a constant energy supply from their mitochondria machinery to maintain active functioning. However, the involvement of mitochondrial function in GnRH neurons is still unclear. In this study, we examined the role of NADH Dehydrogenase (Ubiquinone) Fe-S protein 4 (Ndufs4), a member of the mitochondrial complex 1, on GnRH neurons using Ndufs4-KO mice and Ndufs4-KO GT1-7 cells. Ndufs4 was highly expressed in GnRH neurons in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) and NPY/AgRP and POMC neurons in the arcuate (ARC) nucleus in WT mice. Conversely, there was a significant decrease in GnRH expression in MPOA and median eminence of Ndufs4-KO mice, followed by impaired peripheral endocrine system. In Ndufs4-KO GT1-7 cells, Gnrh1 expression was significantly decreased with or without stimulation with either kisspeptin or NGF, whereas, stimulation significantly increased Gnrh1 expression in control cells. In contrast, there was no difference in cell signaling activity including ERK and CREB as well as the expression of GPR54, TrkA and p75NTR, suggesting that Ndufs4 is involved in the transcriptional regulation system for GnRH production. These findings may be useful in understanding the mitochondrial function in GnRH neuron.

Keywords: GnRH; GnRH neuron; Mitochondria; Ndufs4; Transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Electron Transport Complex I / genetics
  • Electron Transport Complex I / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Precursors / genetics
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*


  • Ndufs4 protein, mouse
  • Protein Precursors
  • progonadoliberin I
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Electron Transport Complex I