Characterisation of arcuate nucleus kisspeptin/neurokinin B neuronal projections and regulation during lactation in the rat

Cadence True, Melissa Kirigiti, Philippe Ciofi, Kevin L. Grove, M. Susan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Lactation results in negative energy balance in the rat leading to decreased gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) release and anoestrus. Inhibited GnRH release may be a result of decreased stimulatory tone from neuropeptides critical for GnRH neuronal activity, such as kisspeptin (Kiss1) and neurokinin B (NKB). The present study aimed to identify neuronal projections from the colocalised population of Kiss1/NKB cells in the arcuate nucleus (ARH) using double-label immunohistochemistry to determine where this population may directly regulate GnRH neuronal activity. Additionally, the present study further examined lactation-induced changes in the Kiss1 system that could play a role in decreased GnRH release. The colocalised ARH Kiss1/NKB fibres projected primarily to the internal zone of the median eminence (ME) where they were in close proximity to GnRH fibres; however, few Kiss1/NKB fibres from the ARH were seen at the level of GnRH neurones in the preoptic area (POA). Arcuate Kiss1/NKB peptide levels were decreased during lactation consistent with previous mRNA data. Surprisingly, anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) Kiss1 peptide levels were increased, whereas Kiss1 mRNA levels were decreased during lactation, suggesting active inhibition of peptide release. These findings indicate ARH Kiss1/NKB and AVPV Kiss1 appear to be inhibited during lactation, which may contribute to decreased GnRH release and subsequent reproductive dysfunction. Furthermore, the absence of a strong ARH Kiss1/NKB projection to the POA suggests regulation of GnRH by this population occurs primarily at the ME level via local projections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-64
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Arcuate nucleus
  • Kisspeptin
  • Lactation
  • Neurokinin B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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