Membrane and nuclear initiated estrogenic regulation of homeostasis

Todd L. Stincic, Oline K. Rønnekleiv, Martin J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reproduction and energy balance are inextricably linked in order to optimize the evolutionary fitness of an organism. With insufficient or excessive energy stores a female is liable to suffer complications during pregnancy and produce unhealthy or obesity-prone offspring. The quintessential function of the hypothalamus is to act as a bridge between the endocrine and nervous systems, coordinating fertility and autonomic functions. Across the female reproductive cycle various motivations wax and wane, following levels of ovarian hormones. Estrogens, more specifically 17β-estradiol (E2), coordinate a triumvirate of hypothalamic neurons within the arcuate nucleus (ARH) that govern the physiological underpinnings of these behavioral dynamics. Arising from a common progenitor pool of cells, this triumvirate is composed of the kisspeptin (Kiss1ARH), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), and neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons. Although the excitability of these neuronal subpopulations is subject to genomic and rapid estrogenic regulation, kisspeptin neurons are the most sensitive, reflecting their integral function in female fertility. Based on the premise that E2 coordinates autonomic functions around reproduction, we will review the recent findings on the synaptic interactions between Kiss1, AgRP and POMC neurons and how the rapid membrane-initiated and intracellular signaling cascades activated by E2 in these neurons are critical for control of homeostatic functions supporting reproduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108428
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Hypothalamus
  • Kisspeptin neurons
  • Neuropeptide Y/agouti-related peptide neurons
  • Peptides
  • Proopiomelanocortin neurons
  • Synaptic transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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