Kisspeptin plays a critical role in pubertal timing and reproductive function. In rodents, kisspeptin perikarya within the hypothalamic arcuate (ARC) and anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) nuclei are thought to be involved in LH pulse and surge generation, respectively. Using bilateral microinjections of recombinant adeno-associated virus encoding kisspeptin antisense into the ARC or AVPV of female rats at postnatal day 10, we investigated the relative importance of these two kisspeptin populations in the control of pubertal timing, estrous cyclicity, and LH surge and pulse generation. A 37% knockdown of kisspeptin in the AVPV resulted in a significant delay in vaginal opening and first vaginal estrous, abnormal estrous cyclicity, and reduction in the occurrence of spontaneous LH surges, although these retained normal amplitude. This AVPV knockdown had no effect on LH pulse frequency, measured after ovariectomy. A 32% reduction of kisspeptin in the ARC had no effect on the onset of puberty but resulted in abnormal estrous cyclicity and decreased LH pulse frequency. Additionally, the knockdown of kisspeptin in the ARC decreased the amplitude but not the incidence of LH surges. These results might suggest that the role of AVPV kisspeptin in the control of pubertal timing is particularly sensitive to perturbation. In accordance with our previous studies, ARC kisspeptin signaling was critical for normal pulsatile LH secretion in female rats. Despite the widely reported role of AVPV kisspeptin neurons in LH surge generation, this study suggests that both AVPV and ARC populations are essential for normal LH surges and estrous cyclicity.
- Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus/cytology
- Estrous Cycle/genetics
- Gene Knockdown Techniques
- Hypothalamus, Anterior/cytology
- Luteinizing Hormone/metabolism
- Sexual Maturation/genetics