Previous studies have shown that kisspeptin neurons are important mediators of prolactin's effects on reproduction. However, the cellular mechanisms recruited by prolactin to affect kisspeptin neurons remain unknown. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of brain slices from kisspeptin reporter mice, we observed that 20% of kisspeptin neurons in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus was indirectly depolarized by prolactin via an unknown population of prolactin responsive neurons. This effect required the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway. No effects on the activity of arcuate kisspeptin neurons were observed, despite a high percentage (70%) of arcuate neurons expressing prolactin-induced STAT5 phosphorylation. To determine whether STAT5 expression in kisspeptin cells regulates reproduction, mice carrying Stat5a/b inactivation specifically in kisspeptin cells were generated. These mutants exhibited an early onset of estrous cyclicity, indicating that STAT5 transcription factors exert an inhibitory effect on the timing of puberty.
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- Sexual maturation
- HPG axis
- Whole-cell patch-clamp