Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein expression decreases during aging in female rats

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Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) neurons project toGnRHneurons to negatively regulate reproductive function. To fully explore the projections of the GnIH neurons, we created transgenic rats carrying an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) tagged to the GnIH promoter. With these animals, we show that EGFP-GnIH neurons are localized mainly in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus (DMN) and project to the hypothalamus, telencephalon, and diencephalic thalamus, which parallels and confirms immunocytochemical and gene expression studies. We observed an age-related reduction in c-Fos-positive GnIH cell numbers in female rats. Furthermore, GnIH fiber appositions toGnRHneurons in the preoptic area were lessened in middle-aged females (70 weeks old) compared with their younger counterparts (9-12 weeks old). The fiber density in other brain areas was also reduced in middle-aged female rats. The expression of estrogen and progesterone receptorsmRNAin subsets of EGFP-GnIH neurons was shown in laser-dissected single EGFP-GnIH neurons. We then examined estradiol-17? and progesterone regulation of GnIH neurons, using c-Fos presence as a marker. Estradiol-17? treatment reduced c-Fos labeling in EGFP-GnIH neurons in the DMN of young ovariectomized adult females but had no effect in middle-aged females. Progesterone had no effect on the number of GnIH cells positive for c-Fos. We conclude that there is an age-related decline in GnIH neuron number and GnIH inputs to GnRH neurons.We also conclude that the response of GnIH neurons to estrogen diminishes with reproductive aging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1944 - 1955
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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