The GABAergic control of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion in male rats during sexual maturation involves effects on hypothalamic excitatory and inhibitory amino acid systems

Neuroendocrinology. 1996 Oct;64(4):305-12. doi: 10.1159/000127133.


In order to evaluate the possible participation of the hypothalamic excitatory and inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter systems in the GnRH release response to GABAergic drugs, hypothalami (preoptic and mediobasal area) of immature (26 days of age) and adult male rats were perifused with GABA-A and -B agonists and antagonists. GnRH and amino acid neurotransmitter concentrations (glutamate, taurine, GABA) were measured in perfusate samples collected every 15 min during 150 min. In immature rats, muscimol and baclofen (GABA-A and GABA-B agonists, respectively) increased GnRH, glutamate and GABA release and decreased taurine output, while in adults these agonists showed opposite effects on GnRH and glutamate release, and increased GABA and taurine output. On the other hand, in immature rats bicuculline and phaclofen (GABA-A and GABA-B antagonists, respectively) decreased GnRH, glutamate and GABA release, increasing taurine outflow. In adult animals, these antagonists enhanced GnRH and glutamate release, decreasing taurine and GABA outflow. These results indicate that GABA stimulates GnRH release in immature male rats and confirm the inhibitory role of this amino acid neurotransmitter in adult animals. This effect might be associated, at least partially, with the modifications observed in the excitatory and inhibitory amino acid release. On the other hand, in immature rats, stimulation of GABA-A and GABA-B receptors increased GABA release. Although ultrastructural studies have not produced any evidence of GABA-GABA neurointeractions, our results suggest the existence of a positive feedback mechanism of GABA autoregulation active during the prepubertal stage. Participation of this mechanism in the onset of puberty cannot be discarded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Amino Acids / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Amino Acids
  • GABA Agonists
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Taurine
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid