Towards Understanding the Neurobiology of Mammalian Puberty: Genetic, Genomic and Proteomic Approaches
The pubertal activation of gonadotropin hormone-releasing hormone (GnRH) release in rodents and primates is brought about by coordinated changes in excitatory and inhibitory inputs to GnRH neurons. These inputs include both transsynaptic and glia-to-neuron communication pathways. Using cellular and molecular approaches in combination with transgenic animal models and high throughput procedures for gene discovery, we are beginning to gain insights into the basic mechanisms underlying this dual transsynaptic/glial control of GnRH secretion, and hence, the initiation of mammalian puberty. The results thus far obtained suggest that the initiation of puberty requires reciprocal neuron-glia communication involving excitatory amino acids and growth factors, changes in synaptic make-up and glia-neuron adhesiveness, and the transcriptional regulation of genes required for the normal function of both neurons and glial cells involved in the control of GnRH secretion.
KeywordsGnRH Neuron Transform Growth Factor Alpha GnRH Secretion GnRH Release Hypothalamic Hamartomas
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