GnRH neurons are the final central neural output regulating fertility. Kisspeptin neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (KNDy neurons) are considered the main regulator of GnRH output. GnRH and KNDy neurons are surrounded by astrocytes, which can modulate neuronal activity and communicate over distances. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), synthesized primarily by astrocytes, increases GnRH neuron activity and downstream pituitary release of luteinizing hormone (LH). We hypothesized GFAP-expressing astrocytes play a role regulating GnRH and/or KNDy neuron activity and LH release. We used adenoassociated viruses to target designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) to GFAP-expressing cells to activate Gq or Gi-mediated signaling. Activating Gq signaling in the preoptic area, near GnRH neurons, but not in the arcuate, increases LH release in vivo and GnRH firing in vitro via a mechanism in part dependent upon PGE2. These data suggest astrocytes can activate GnRH/LH release in a manner independent of KNDy neurons.
Analysis code for calcium signals and event detection have been deposited to GitLab and are accessible at https://gitlab.com/um-mip/coding-project
- Suzanne M Moenter
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols of the University of Michigan. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Michigan approved all procedures (PRO00006816PRO00008797)
- Joel K Elmquist, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States
- Received: March 9, 2021
- Accepted: July 21, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 22, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Vanacker et al.
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