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Takeshi Iwasa, Toshiya Matsuzaki, Kiyohito Yano, Yiliyasi Mayila, Rie Yanagihara, Yuri Yamamoto, Akira Kuwahara and Minoru Irahara

Although polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is among the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive age, its etiology remains poorly understood. From the perspective of developmental origins of health and disease, some studies have investigated the relationship between low birth weight and the prevalence of PCOS and/or PCOS phenotypes in humans; however, the results of these studies were inconclusive. Here, we evaluated the effects of prenatal undernutrition on the metabolic and reproductive phenotypes of dihydrotestosterone-induced PCOS model rats. The PCOS model rats showed increased body weight, food intake, fat weight, adipocyte size and upregulation of inflammatory cytokines in adipose tissue; prenatal undernutrition exacerbated these metabolic changes. Prenatal undernutrition also increased the gene expression of hypothalamic orexigenic factor and decreased the gene expression of anorexigenic factor in the PCOS model rats. In addition, the PCOS model rats exhibited irregular cyclicity, polycystic ovaries and disrupted gene expression of ovarian steroidogenic enzymes. Interestingly, prenatal undernutrition attenuated these reproductive changes in the PCOS model rats. Our results suggest that in dihydrotestosterone-induced PCOS model rats, prenatal undernutrition exacerbates the metabolic phenotypes, whereas it improves the reproductive phenotypes and that such phenotypic changes may be induced by the alteration of some peripheral and central factors.

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Masahiro Murakami, Toshiya Matsuzaki, Takeshi Iwasa, Toshiyuki Yasui, Minoru Irahara, Tomohiro Osugi and Kazuyoshi Tsutsui

Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), a newly discovered hypothalamic RFamide peptide, inhibits reproductive activity by decreasing gonadotropin synthesis and release in birds. The gene of the mammalian RFamide-related peptides (RFRP) is orthologous to the GnIH gene. This Rfrp gene gives rise to the two biologically active peptides RFRP-1 (NPSF) and RFRP-3 (NPVF), and i.c.v. injections of RFRP-3 suppress LH secretion in several mammalian species. In this study, we show whether RFRP-3 affects LH secretion at the pituitary level and/or via the release of GnRH at the hypothalamus in mammals. To investigate the suppressive effects of RFRP-3 on the mean level of LH secretion and the frequency of pulsatile LH secretion in vivo, ovariectomized (OVX) mature rats were administered RFRP-3 using either i.c.v. or i.v. injections. Furthermore, the effect of RFRP-3 on LH secretion was also investigated using cultured female rat pituitary cells. With i.v. administrations, RFRP-3 significantly reduced plasma LH concentrations when compared with the physiological saline group. However, after i.c.v. RFRP-3 injections, neither the mean level of LH concentrations nor the frequency of the pulsatile LH secretion was affected. When using cultured pituitary cells, in the absence of GnRH, the suppressive effect of RFRP-3 on LH secretion was not clear, but when GnRH was present, RFRP-3 significantly suppressed LH secretion. These results suggest that RFRP-3 does not affect LH secretion via the release of GnRH, and that RFRP-3 directly acts upon the pituitary to suppress GnRH-stimulated LH secretion in female rats.

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Takeshi Iwasa, Toshiya Matsuzaki, Masahiro Murakami, Riyo Kinouchi, Ganbat Gereltsetseg, Shinobu Fujisawa, Akira Kuwahara, Toshiyuki Yasui and Minoru Irahara

Decreased activity of kisspeptin, the product of the hypothalamic Kiss1 gene, is the major cause of the suppression of reproductive function in subnutritional conditions. The sensitivities of the endocrine and the hypothalamic neuronal systems to nutritional status develop during the neonatal period. We examined the developmental changes in the sensitivity of hypothalamic mRNA expression of Kiss1 and its receptor, Kiss1r, to nutritional status in female rats. Kiss1 mRNA expression was reduced by 24 h food deprivation (24 h FD) at postnatal day 25, but not at postnatal day 5 or 15. Kiss1r mRNA expression was reduced by the 12 or 24 h FD at postnatal days 5 and 25, but not at postnatal day 15. Kiss1r mRNA level was found to be correlated with the plasma leptin level, and the administration of leptin, which increased the serum leptin concentration above the physiological range, restored the acute FD-induced suppression of Kiss1r mRNA expression. These data suggest that the hypothalamic Kiss1 and Kiss1r mRNA expression is differentially affected by the nutritional condition at different age points. It is speculated that the sensitivity of Kiss1 mRNA, which is expressed in kisspeptin neuron, to nutritional status develops during the neonatal period. On the other hand, it seems that the sensitivity of Kiss1r mRNA, which is expressed in GnRH neuron, to nutritional status has been already established during the early neonatal period. These data also show that hypoleptinemia plays a role in the reduction of hypothalamic Kiss1r mRNA expression under subnutritional conditions.