The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) occupies a central position in the neural circuitry regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis response to stress. The potential role of the BNST in stress-induced suppression of the gondotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) pulse generator, the central regulator of the reproductive system, was assessed by examining the effects of micro-infusion of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) or its antagonist into the BNST on pulsatile luteinising hormone (LH) secretion or stress-induced inhibition of LH pulses, respectively. Ovariectomised oestrogen-treated rats were implanted chronically with bilateral cannulae in the dorsolateral BNST and i.v. catheters. CRF (25, 50 or 100 pmol in 200 nl of artificial cerebrospinal fluid) administered bilaterally into the BNST resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in LH pulse frequency, and induced Fos expression in glutamic acid decarboxylase immunostained neurones in the medial preoptic area. These results suggest that the activation of hypothalamic GABAergic neurones in response to intra-BNST administration of CRF may be involved in the suppression of LH pulses. Furthermore, administration of CRF antagonist (280 pmol astressin-B, three times at 20-min intervals) into the BNST effectively blocked the suppression of pulsatile LH secretion in response to restraint (1 h) but not hypoglycaemic (0.25 U insulin/kg, i.v.) stress. These data suggest that CRF innervation of the dorsolateral BNST plays a key, but differential, role in stress-induced suppression of the GnRH pulse generator.
Bibliographical note© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Neuroendocrinology © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Luteinizing Hormone/antagonists & inhibitors
- Rats, Sprague-Dawley
- Septal Nuclei/physiology