The transcriptional control of female puberty

Sergio R. Ojeda, Alejandro Lomniczi, Alberto Loche, Valerie Matagne, Gabi Kaidar, Ursula S. Sandau, Gregory A. Dissen

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    35 Scopus citations


    The initiation of mammalian puberty requires a sustained increase in pulsatile release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. This increase is brought about by coordinated changes in transsynaptic and glial-neuronal communication, consisting of an increase in neuronal and glial stimulatory inputs to the GnRH neuronal network and the loss of transsynaptic inhibitory influences. GnRH secretion is stimulated by transsynaptic inputs provided by excitatory amino acids (glutamate) and at least one peptide (kisspeptin), and by glial inputs provided by growth factors and small bioactive molecules. The inhibitory input to GnRH neurons is mostly transsynaptic and provided by GABAergic and opiatergic neurons; however, GABA has also been shown to directly excite GnRH neurons. There are many genes involved in the control of these cellular networks, and hence in the control of the pubertal process as a whole. Our laboratory has proposed the concept that these genes are arranged in overlapping networks internally organized in a hierarchical fashion. According to this concept, the highest level of intra-network control is provided by transcriptional regulators that, by directing expression of key subordinate genes, impose genetic coordination to the neuronal and glial subsets involved in initiating the pubertal process. More recently, we have begun to explore the concept that a more dynamic and encompassing level of integrative coordination is provided by epigenetic mechanisms.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)164-174
    Number of pages11
    JournalBrain research
    StatePublished - Dec 10 2010


    • Epigenetics
    • Glial-neuronal communication
    • GnRH neuron
    • Hypothalamus
    • Timing of puberty
    • Transcriptional regulation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)
    • Molecular Biology
    • Clinical Neurology
    • Developmental Biology


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