Estrogenic-dependent glutamatergic neurotransmission from kisspeptin neurons governs feeding circuits in females

Jian Qiu, Heidi M. Rivera, Martha A. Bosch, Stephanie L. Padilla, Todd L. Stincic, Richard D. Palmiter, Martin J. Kelly, Oline K. Rønnekleiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The neuropeptides tachykinin2 (Tac2) and kisspeptin (Kiss1) in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus Kiss1 (Kiss1ARH) neurons are essential for pulsatile release of GnRH and reproduction. Since 17b-estradiol (E2) decreases Kiss1 and Tac2 mRNA expression in Kiss1ARHneurons, the role of Kiss1ARHneurons during E2-driven anorexigenic states and their coordination of POMC and NPY/ AgRP feeding circuits have been largely ignored. Presently, we show that E2 augmented the excitability of Kiss1ARHneurons by amplifying Cacna1g, Hcn1 and Hcn2 mRNA expression and T-type calcium and h-currents. E2 increased Slc17a6 mRNA expression and glutamatergic synaptic input to arcuate neurons, which excited POMC and inhibited NPY/AgRP neurons via metabotropic receptors. Deleting Slc17a6 in Kiss1 neurons eliminated glutamate release and led to conditioned place preference for sucrose in E2-treated KO female mice. Therefore, the E2-driven increase in Kiss1 neuronal excitability and glutamate neurotransmission may play a key role in governing the motivational drive for palatable food in females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere35656
StatePublished - Aug 6 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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