Kisspeptin signaling is required for peripheral but not central stimulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons by NMDA.


NMDA and kisspeptins can stimulate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release after peripheral or central administration in mice. To determine whether these agonists act independently or through a common pathway, we have examined their ability to stimulate GnRH/luteinizing hormone (LH) release after peripheral or central administration in Kiss1- or Gpr54 (Kiss1r)-null mutant mice. Peripheral injection of NMDA failed to stimulate GnRH/LH release in prepubertal or gonadally intact mutant male mice. Dual-labeling experiments indicated a direct activation of Kiss1-expressing neurons in the arcuate nucleus. In contrast, central injection of NMDA into the lateral ventricle increased plasma LH levels in both Kiss1 and Gpr54 mutant male mice similar to the responses in wild-type mice. Central injection of NMDA stimulated c-Fos expression throughout the hypothalamus but not in GnRH neurons, suggesting an action at the nerve terminals only. In contrast, kisspeptin-10 stimulated LH release after both central and peripheral injection but induced c-Fos expression in GnRH neurons only after central administration. Finally, central injection of NMDA induces c-Fos expression in catecholamine- and nitric oxide-producing neurons in the hypothalamus of mutant mice, indicating a possible kisspeptin-independent GnRH/LH release by NMDA through activation of these neurons. Thus, NMDA may act at both GnRH cell bodies (kisspeptin-independent) and nerve terminals (kisspeptin-dependent) in a dual way to participate in the GnRH/LH secretion in the male mouse.