Kisspeptin and seasonality of reproduction

Iain James Clarke, Alain Caraty

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Wild and domesticated species display seasonality in reproductive function, controlled predominantly by photoperiod. Seasonal alterations in breeding status are caused by changes in the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that are mediated by upstream neuronal afferents that regulate the GnRH cells. In particular, kisspeptin appears to play a major role in seasonality of reproduction, transducing the feedback effect of gonadal steroids as well as having an independent (nonsteroid dependent) circannual rhythm. A substantial body of data on this issue has been obtained from studies in sheep and hamsters and this is reviewed here in detail. Kisspeptin function is upregulated during the breeding season in sheep, stimulating reproductive function, but contradictory data are found in Siberian and Syrian hamsters. The relative quiescence of kisspeptin cells in the nonbreeding season can be counteracted by administration of the peptide, leading to activation of reproductive function. Although there is a major role for melatonin in the transduction of photoperiod to the reproductive system, kisspeptin cells do not appear to express the melatonin receptor, so the means by which seasonality changes the level of kisspeptin activity remains unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-430
Number of pages20
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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