Kisspeptin (Kiss1) and neurokinin B (NKB) neurocircuits are essential for pubertal development and fertility. Kisspeptin neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (Kiss1ARH) coexpress Kiss1, NKB, dynorphin and glutamate and are postulated to provide an episodic, excitatory drive to gonadotropin-releasing hormone 1 (GnRH) neurons, the synaptic mechanisms of which are unknown. We characterized the cellular basis for synchronized Kiss1ARH neuronal activity using optogenetics, whole-cell electrophysiology, molecular pharmacology and single cell RT-PCR in mice. High-frequency photostimulation of Kiss1ARH neurons evoked local release of excitatory (NKB) and inhibitory (dynorphin) neuropeptides, which were found to synchronize the Kiss1ARH neuronal firing. The light-evoked synchronous activity caused robust excitation of GnRH neurons by a synaptic mechanism that also involved glutamatergic input to preoptic Kiss1 neurons from Kiss1ARH neurons. We propose that Kiss1ARH neurons play a dual role of driving episodic secretion of GnRH through the differential release of peptide and amino acid neurotransmitters to coordinate reproductive function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology