Effects of Estrogen on Morphological and Electrophysiological Properties of Arcuate NKB Neurons
AdvisorRance, Naoimi E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractInfundibular (arcuate) neurokinin B (NKB) neurons play a critical role in neuroendocrine control of reproduction. Specifically, a local network of arcuate neurons that co-express kisspeptin, neurokinin B, and dynorphin (so-called, KNDy neurons), has emerged as a potential pacemaker driving the pulsatile secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that is required for normal reproduction. These neurons are the target of estrogen and may be an important link in estrogen negative feedback on GnRH functioning. KNDy neurons respond to estrogen withdrawal with dramatic changes in gene expression and somatic hypertrophy, an effect that is reversible by estradiol replacement. Studies addressing the effects of estrogen withdrawal and replacement on morphological and electrophysiological features of KNDy neurons have been hindered by the inability to target this subpopulation of neurons in the live tissue. This dissertation examines estrogen-induced changes in arcuate NKB circuitry and excitability and discusses its implications in reproductive axis. First, the novel Tac2-EGFP transgenic mouse model was characterized. The reproductive function, EGFP-ir distribution in the brain, and co-localization of EGFP with proNKB in the arcuate nucleus were examined and compared to littermate controls. Indices of reproductive function (puberty onset, estrous cyclicity, and LH pulsatility) were comparable between Tac2 and wildtype mice, suggesting that the transgenic animals have preserved estrogen negative feedback. The long-term estrogen withdrawal via ovariectomy and estradiol replacement model was used to examine electrophysiological and morphological changes in arcuate NKB neurons. We found that low-dose chronic estradiol replacement results in decreased excitability of arcuate NKB neurons, a finding that is consistent with the proposed role of this neuronal population in estrogen negative feedback on reproductive axis. Changes in excitability were seen despite the overall similarity in intrinsic properties of estradiol-treated and untreated ovariectomized mice. We also demonstrated for the first time that single arcuate NKB neurons form a local network by way of recurrent collaterals. Axonal targets of single NKB neurons included the internal zone of the median eminence, ependymal layer of the 3rd ventricle, and sites lateral and dorsal to the borders of the arcuate nucleus. Long-term treatment with estradiol resulted in decreased somatic volume and decreased dendritic spine density. Together, these data demonstrate that low-dose chronic estradiol replacement in ovariectomized mice resulted in morphological plasticity of arcuate NKB neurons that was accompanied by changes in excitability of this neuronal population, supporting the role of these neurons in estrogen negative feedback on GnRH secretion.
Degree ProgramGraduate College