[en] Leptin may act as a negative feedback signal to the hypothalamic control of appetite through suppression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) secretion and stimulation of cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART). We aimed at studying the effects of leptin, CART and NPY on the hypothalamic control of the pituitary-gonadal system. Pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion was studied in vitro using retrochiasmatic hypothalamic explants from adult rats. In the female, GnRH pulse amplitude was significantly increased by leptin (10(-7) M) and CART (10(-6) M) irrespective of the estrus cycle phase while no such effects were seen in the male. The GnRH interpulse interval was not affected in both sexes. Passive immunoneutralization against CART caused a reduction in GnRH pulse amplitude in the female. A slight but significant increase in GnRH pulse amplitude was caused by NPY (10(-7) M) in the female. However, GnRH pulse amplitude was not affected by a Y5-receptor antagonist (10(-6) M) while the interpulse interval was significantly increased as shown previously in the male. The increase in GnRH pulse amplitude caused by leptin was totally prevented by coincubation with an anti-CART antiserum whereas it was not affected by coincubation with the NPY Y5-receptor antagonist (10(-7) M). In conclusion, leptin and NPY show separate permissive effects on GnRH secretion in the adult rat hypothalamus. In both sexes, NPY is prominently involved in the control of the frequency of pulsatile GnRH secretion through the Y5 receptor subtype. Leptin causes a female-specific facilitatory effect on GnRH pulse amplitude which is mediated by CART and which occurs irrespective of the estrus cycle phase.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; belgian study group for pediatric endocrinologyG