Intrinsic pulsatile secretory activity of immortalized luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone-secreting neurons.
Mammalian reproduction is dependent upon intermittent delivery of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) to the anterior pituitary. This mode of secretion is required to sensitize maximally the gonadotrophs to LHRH stimulation and to regulate gonadotropin gene expression. While LHRH secretion is pulsatile in nature, the origin of the pulse generator is unknown. In this report, we show that this oscillator could be located within the LHRH neuronal network. When immortalized LHRH neurons are placed into a perifusion system, LHRH is secreted into the medium in a pulsatile fashion under basal conditions. LHRH secretion and the number of LHRH pulses are reduced when calcium is removed from the medium. Perifusion also influences pro-LHRH processing, since the molar ratio of its processed products varies dramatically when the cells are transferred from a static system. Several different cellular mechanisms may underlie these changes in secretion and processing. Lucifer yellow experiments reveal that some cells are dye-coupled. Hence, these cells could be electrically coupled through gap junctions such that secretion from individual cells could be coordinated. Secretion could also be synchronized through the observed synapse-like contacts. These contacts could perform a negative-feedback role to regulate not only the amount of LHRH released but also the molecular forms secreted. The organization of LHRH neurons into interconnected clusters could serve to coordinate LHRH secretion from individual cells and, thereby, orchestrate functions in vivo as diverse as the onset of puberty, the timing of ovulation, and the duration of lactational infertility.
Wetsel, WC; Valença, MM; Merchenthaler, I; Liposits, Z; López, FJ; Weiner, RI; Mellon, PL; Negro-Vilar, A
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