Mapping neuronal inputs to Kiss1 neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the mouse.


The normal function of the mammalian reproductive axis is strongly influenced by physiological, metabolic and environmental factors. Kisspeptin neuropeptides, encoded by the Kiss1 gene, are potent regulators of the mammalian reproductive axis by stimulating gonadodropin releasing hormone secretion from the hypothalamus. To understand how the reproductive axis is modulated by higher order neuronal inputs we have mapped the afferent circuits into arcuate (ARC) Kiss1 neurons. We used a transgenic mouse that expresses the CRE recombinase in Kiss1 neurons for conditional viral tracing with genetically modified viruses. CRE-mediated activation of these viruses in Kiss1 neurons allows the virus to move transynaptically to label neurons with primary or secondary afferent inputs into the Kiss1 neurons. Several regions of the brain showed synaptic connectivity to arcuate Kiss1 neurons including proopiomelanocortin neurons in the ARC itself, kisspeptin neurons in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus, vasopressin neurons in the supraoptic and suprachiasmatic nuclei, thyrotropin releasing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus and unidentified neurons in other regions including the subfornical organ, amygdala, interpeduncular nucleus, ventral premammilary nucleus, basal nucleus of stria terminalis and the visual, somatosensory and piriform regions of the cortex. These data provide an insight into how the activity of Kiss1 neurons may be regulated by metabolic signals and provide a detailed neuroanatomical map for future functional studies.