Endocrinology Journal Article

Mechanisms of CRH Action on GnRH Neurons

November 23, 2020
 

Chayarndorn Phumsatitpong, Rose M De Guzman, Damian G Zuloaga, Suzanne M Moenter
Endocrinology, Volume 161, Issue 11, November 2020, bqaa140
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa140

Abstract

GnRH neurons are central regulators of reproduction and respond to factors affecting fertility, such as stress. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is released during stress response. In brain slices from unstressed controls, CRH has opposite, estradiol-dependent effects on GnRH neuron firing depending on the CRH receptor activated; activating CRHR-1 stimulates whereas activating CRHR-2 suppresses activity. We investigated possible direct and indirect mechanisms. Mice were ovariectomized and either not treated further (OVX) or given a capsule producing high positive feedback (OVX + E) or low negative feedback (OVX + low E) physiologic circulating estradiol levels. We tested possible direct effects on GnRH neurons by altering voltage-gated potassium currents. Two types of voltage-gated potassium currents (transient IA and sustained IK) were measured; neither CRHR-1 nor CRHR-2 agonists altered potassium current density in GnRH neurons from OVX + E mice. Further, neither CRH nor receptor-specific agonists altered action potential generation in response to current injection in GnRH neurons from OVX + E mice. To test the possible indirect actions, GABAergic postsynaptic currents were monitored. A CRHR-1 agonist increased GABAergic transmission frequency to GnRH neurons from OVX + E, but not OVX, mice, whereas a CRHR-2 agonist had no effect. Finally, we tested if CRH alters the firing rate of arcuate kisspeptin neurons, which provide an important excitatory neuromodulatory input to GnRH neurons. CRH did not acutely alter firing activity of these neurons from OVX, OVX + E or OVX + low E mice. These results suggest CRH increases GnRH neuron activity in an estradiol-dependent manner in part by activating GABAergic afferents. Mechanisms underlying inhibitory effects of CRH remain unknown.

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