2018 Volume 64 Issue 6 Pages 469-476
Kisspeptin, identified as a natural ligand of GPR54 in 2001, is now considered as a master regulator of puberty and subsequent reproductive functions in mammals. Our previous studies using Kiss1 knockout (KO) rats clearly demonstrated the indispensable role of kisspeptin in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)/gonadotropin secretion. In addition, behavioral analyses of Kiss1 KO rats revealed an organizational effect of kisspeptin on neural circuits controlling sexual behaviors. Our studies using transgenic mice carrying a region-specific Kiss1 enhancer-driven reporter gene provided a clue as to the mechanism by which estrogen regulates Kiss1 expression in hypothalamic kisspeptin neurons. Analyses of Kiss1 expression and gonadotropin secretion during the pubertal transition shed light on the mechanism triggering GnRH/gonadotropin secretion at the onset of puberty in rats. Here, we summarize data obtained from the aforementioned studies and revisit the physiological roles of kisspeptin in the mechanism underlying reproductive functions in mammals.