The primate brain was thought to contain only the GnRH known as mammalian GnRH (mGnRH). This study investigates whether a second form of GnRH exists within the primate brain. We found that brain extracts from adult stumptail and rhesus monkeys contained two forms of GnRH that were similar to mGnRH and chicken GnRH-II (cGnRH-II) based on the elution position of the peptides from HPLC and on cross-reactivity with antisera that are specific to mammalian or chicken GnRH-II in RIAs. The fetal brain of rhesus monkeys also contained mGnRH and a cGnRH-II-like peptide by the same criteria. Immunocytochemistry with a cGnRH-II-specific antiserum in adult and fetal rhesus monkeys showed immunopositive neurons generally scattered in the periaqueductal region of the midbrain, with a few positive cells in the posterior basal hypothalamus. Neurons immunopositive for cGnRH-II were fewer in number and smaller in size, with less defined nuclei and thinner neurites compared with those for mGnRH. Administration of synthetic cGnRH-II to adult rhesus monkeys resulted in a significant increase in the plasma LH concentration during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, but not during the midfollicular phase. We conclude that the primate brain contains mGnRH and a cGnRH-II-like molecule, although the function of the latter is unknown.
ASJC Scopus subject areas