Kisspeptin-10 stimulation of gonadotrophin secretion in women is modulated by sex steroid feedback

J. T. George, R. A. Anderson, R. P. Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

STUDY QUESTION Does sex-steroid feedback influence gonadotrophin responses to kisspeptin-10?
SUMMARY ANSWER Gonadotrophin response to kisspeptin-10 is enhanced in sex-steroid deficient post-menopausal women and suppressed in women taking pharmacological doses of exogenous estrogen and progestogen.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Kisspeptin, a novel hypothalamic neuropeptide, stimulates gonadotrophin secretion by stimulating GnRH secretion and has been shown in animal models to play a pivotal role in mediating sex steroid feedback. As estrogen feedback occurs at both the hypothalamus and the pituitary levels, we hypothesized that the stimulatory effect of kisspeptin-10 in women would be dependent on prevailing sex steroid milieu.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION An experimental study of a novel neuropeptide in women—10 in the early follicular phase, 6 post-menopausal and 8 taking sex-steroid contraceptives (combined pill, n = 4; progestogen implants, n = 4) with suppressed LH secretion. Gonadotrophin secretion was followed for 60 min after kisspeptin administration.
METHODS AND PARTICIPANTS The gonadotrophin response to intravenous kisspeptin-10 (0.3 µg/kg) in women in the early follicular phase was compared with that in the presence of low endogenous sex steroids/high gonadotrophin secretion (post-menopausal women) and in women taking sex-steroid contraceptives (combined pill, n = 4; progestogen implants, n = 4) with suppressed LH secretion. Area under the curve (AUC) of gonadotrophin secretion sampled at 15 min intervals over 60 min before and after kisspeptin-10 was analysed.
MAIN RESULTS AND ROLE OF CHANCE Kisspeptin-10 stimulated LH secretion in follicular (ΔAUC 2.3 ± 0.8 IU/l h, P = 0.009), post-menopausal (5.3 ± 0.9 IU/l h P 0.002) and progestogen (2.6 ± 0.8 IU/l h P 0.05) groups but not in women taking combined pill (0.9 ± 0.4 IU/l h P 0.13). FSH secretion was significantly increased only in post-menopausal women (ΔAUC 2.6 ± 0.8 IU/l h P = 0.03) with changes of <0.5 IU/l h observed in the other three groups. Both LH and FSH responses in post-menopausal women were significantly larger than the other groups (one-way ANOVA analysis of ΔAUC; LH (P = 0.012) and FSH (P = 0.001)].
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION This study only assessed acute responses to an intravenous bolus of kisspeptin-10 administration, and the impact of continuous exposure to kisspeptin-10 on LH pulse frequency in women remains to be studied to fully understand the translational potential.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS Gonadotrophin secretion in women is stimulated by kisspeptin-10. These results suggest that the pituitary gonadotrope is a functionally important locus of estrogen feedback in women and also inform potential translational applications of kisspeptin in reproductive endocrine disorders.
STUDY FUNDING Medical Research Council (UK).
COMPETING INTERESTS None.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3552-3559
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Reproduction
Volume27
Issue number12
Early online date5 Sep 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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