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Xiaonan Yan, Chun Yuan, Nannan Zhao, Yugui Cui and Jiayin Liu

In adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), neuroendocrine derangements manifest after the onset of puberty, characterized by rapid LH pulse frequency. The early mechanism underlying the pubertal regulation of the GNRH/LH pulsatile release in adolescents with PCOS remains uncertain. To determine the effects of prenatal androgen exposure on the activation of GNRH neurons and generation of LH pulse at puberty, we administrated 5α-dihydrotestosterone to pregnant rats and observed serum LH levels and expression of hypothalamic genes in female offspring from postnatal 4 to 8 weeks. The 6-week-old prenatally androgenized (PNA) female rats exhibited an increase in LH pulse frequency. The hypothalamic expression of neurokinin B (Nkb (Tac2)) and Lepr mRNA levels in PNA rats increased remarkably before puberty and remained high during puberty, whereas elevated Kiss1 mRNA levels were detected only after the onset of puberty. Exogenous kisspeptin, NK3R agonist, and leptin triggered tonic stimulation of GNRH neurons and increased LH secretion in 6-week-old PNA rats. Leptin upregulated Kiss1 mRNA levels in the hypothalamus of pubertal PNA rats; however, pretreatment with a kisspeptin antagonist failed to suppress the elevated serum LH stimulated by leptin, indicating that the stimulatory effects of leptin may be conveyed indirectly to GNRH neurons via other neural components within the GNRH neuronal network, rather than through the kisspeptin–GPR54 pathway. These findings validate the hypotheses that NKB and leptin play an essential role in the activation of GNRH neurons and initiation of increased LH pulse frequency in PNA female rats at puberty and that kisspeptin may coordinate their stimulatory effects on LH release.

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Xiaonan Yan, Xiaonan Dai, Jing Wang, Nannan Zhao, Yugui Cui and Jiayin Liu

Owing to the heterogeneity in the clinical symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the early pathophysiological mechanisms of PCOS remain unclear. Clinical, experimental, and genetic evidence supports an interaction between genetic susceptibility and the influence of maternal environment in the pathogenesis of PCOS. To determine whether prenatal androgen exposure induced PCOS-related metabolic derangements during pubertal development, we administrated 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in pregnant rats and observed their female offspring from postnatal 4 to 8 weeks. The prenatally androgenized (PNA) rats exhibited more numerous total follicles, cystic follicles, and atretic follicles than the controls. Fasting glucose, insulin, leptin levels, and homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance were elevated in the PNA rats at the age of 5–8 weeks. Following intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests, glucose and insulin levels did not differ between two groups; however, the PNA rats showed significantly higher 30- and 60-min glucose levels than the controls after insulin stimulation during 5–8 weeks. In addition, prenatal DHT treatment significantly decreased insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of AKT in the skeletal muscles of 6-week-old PNA rats. The abundance of IR substrate 1 (IRS1) and IRS2 was decreased in the skeletal muscles and liver after stimulation with insulin in the PNA group, whereas phosphorylation of insulin-signaling proteins was unaltered in the adipose tissue. These findings validate the contribution of prenatal androgen excess to metabolic derangements in pubertal female rats, and the impaired insulin signaling through IRS and AKT may result in the peripheral insulin resistance during pubertal development.