2007 Volume 53 Issue 2 Pages 367-378
Metastin/kisspeptin, the KiSS-1 gene product, has been identified as an endogenous ligand of GPR54 that reportedly regulates GnRH/LH surges and estrous cyclicity in female rats. The aim of the present study was to determine if metastin/kisspeptin neurons are a target of estrogen positive feedback to induce GnRH/LH surges. We demonstrated that preoptic area (POA) infusion of the anti-rat metastin/kisspeptin monoclonal antibody blocked the estrogen-induced LH surge, indicating that endogenous metastin/kisspeptin released around the POA mediates the estrogen positive feedback effect on GnRH/LH release. Metastin/kisspeptin neurons in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) may be responsible for mediating the feedback effect because the percentage of c-Fos-expressing KiSS-1 mRNA-positive cells to total KiSS-1 mRNA-positive cells was significantly higher in the afternoon than in the morning in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) of high estradiol (E2)-treated females. The percentage of c-Fos-expressing metastin/kisspeptin neurons was not different between the afternoon and morning in the arcuate nucleus (ARC). Most of the KiSS-1 mRNA expressing cells contain ERα immunoreactivity in the AVPV and ARC. In addition, AVPV KiSS-1 mRNA expressions were highest in the proestrous afternoon and lowest in the diestrus 1 in females and were increased by estrogen treatment in ovariectomized animals. On the other hand, the ARC KiSS-1 mRNA expressions were highest at diestrus 2 and lowest at proestrous afternoon and were increased by ovariectomy and decreased by high estrogen treatment. Males lacking the surge mode of GnRH/LH release showed no obvious cluster of metastin/kisspeptin-immunoreactive neurons in the AVPV when compared with high E2-treated females, which showed a much greater density of these neurons. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that the AVPV metastin/kisspeptin neurons are a target of estrogen positive feedback to induce GnRH/LH surges in female rats.