Molecular mechanisms that drive estradiol-dependent burst firing of Kiss1 neurons in the rostral periventricular preoptic area

Chunguang Zhang, Karen J. Tonsfeldt, Jian Qiu, Martha A. Bosch, Kazuto Kobayashi, Robert A. Steiner, Martin J. Kelly, Oline K. Rønnekleiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Kisspeptin (Kiss1) neurons in the rostral periventricular area of the third ventricle (RP3V) provide excitatory drive to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons to control fertility. Using whole cell patch clamp recording and single-cell (sc)RT-PCR techniques targeting Kiss1-CreGFP or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-EGFP neurons, we characterized the biophysical properties of these neurons and identified the critical intrinsic properties required for burst firing in 17β-estradiol (E2)-treated, ovariectomized female mice. One-fourth of the RP3V Kiss1 neurons exhibited spontaneous burst firing. RP3V Kiss1 neurons expressed a hyperpolarization-activated h-current (Ih) and a T-type calcium current (IT), which supported hyperpolarization-induced rebound burst firing. Under voltage clamp conditions, all Kiss1 neurons expressed a kinetically fast Ih that was augmented 3.4-fold by high (LH surge-producing)-E2 treatment. scPCR analysis of Kiss1 neurons revealed abundant expression of the HCN1 channel transcripts. Kiss1 neurons also expressed a Ni2+- and TTA-P2-sensitive IT that was augmented sixfold with high-E2 treatment. CaV3.1 mRNA was also highly expressed in these cells. Current clamp analysis revealed that rebound burst firing was induced in RP3V Kiss1 neurons in high-E2-treated animals, and the majority of Kiss1 neurons had a hyperpolarization threshold of -84.7 mV, which corresponded to the V1/2 for IT de-inactivation. Finally, Kiss1 neurons in the RP3V were hyperpolarized by μ- and κ-opioid and GABAB receptor agonists, suggesting that these pathways also contribute to rebound burst firing. Therefore, Kiss1 neurons in the RP3V express the critical channels and receptors that permit E2-dependent rebound burst firing and provide the biophysical substrate that drives the preovulatory surge of GnRH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1384-E1397
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Burst firing
  • Kisspeptin
  • Pacemaker current
  • RP3V
  • T-type calcium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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