2004 Volume 50 Issue 3 Pages 279-285
Previous studies have suggested the presence of a glucose-sensing mechanism in the hindbrain that appears to regulate reproductive function as well as feeding behavior. The ependymocytes lining the ventricular wall of the hindbrain showed immunoreactivities to pancreatic glucokinase (GK), a key enzyme for glucose sensing in pancreatic B cells. Our goal in the present study was to test whether the GK-immunopositive ependymocytes in the wall of the fourth cerebroventricle (4V) play a role in regulating gonadal activity. Our approach was to determine the effect of injecting alloxan, a GK inhibitor, into the 4V on pulsatile luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion. Estrogen-primed ovariectomized rats received an injection of alloxan (10 or 20 μg/animal) into the 4V and blood samples were collected every 6 min for 3 h for measurement of blood LH, corticosterone and glucose levels. Pulsatile LH secretion was suppressed after alloxan injection and all pulse parameters were significantly (P<0.05) inhibited by 20 μg alloxan. Plasma corticosterone levels were increased significantly (P<0.05) by 20 μg alloxan, suggesting that LH pulse suppression by alloxan may be at least partly mediated by activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. The present results suggest that acute suppression of GK activity in the hindbrain inhibits pulsatile LH secretion in female rats, and supports the idea that GK-immunopositive ependymocytes may sense glucose levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and play a role in regulation of LH secretion.