Estrogen biphasically modifies hypothalamic GABAergic function concomitantly with negative and positive control of luteinizing hormone release

Edward J. Wagner, Oline K. Rønnekleiv, Martha A. Bosch, Martin J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

The principal role of estrogen is its control of the female ovulatory cycle via negative and positive feedback on gonadotropin secretion. However, a detailed, cohesive picture of how the steroid specifically regulates the excitability of hypothalamic neurons involved in the central control of gonadotropin secretion is still emerging. Here, we used an ovariectomized female guinea pig model to test the hypothesis that estrogen acts on GABAergic neurons in the preoptic area (POA) to elicit a biphasic profile of luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion. Intracellular electrophysiological recordings revealed that estradiol benzoate (EB; 25μg, s.c.) decreased the hyperpolarizing response of GABAergic neurons to the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen 24 hr after treatment. This effect of GABAB receptor stimulation in unidentified POA neurons was still depressed 42 hr after EB administration. By the use of a ribonuclease protection assay, however, EB reduced glutamic acid decarboxylase mRNA expression 42 hr but not 24 hr after its administration. Thus, estrogen attenuated the autoinhibition of GABAergic POA neurons during the initial LH suppressive (i.e., negative feedback) phase and subsequently reduced GABAergic function during the LH surge (i.e., positive feedback). These studies demonstrate that the effects of estrogen on hypothalamic GABAergic neurons coincide with the inhibitory and stimulatory actions, respectively, of the steroid on LH secretion. Furthermore, the data provide novel insights into the mechanism by which estrogen regulates hypothalamic GABAergic neurons, which are critical for the biphasic modulation of LH release observed over the course of the female ovulatory cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2085-2093
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2001

Keywords

  • Electrophysiology
  • Estrogen
  • GABA
  • Glutamic acid decarboxylase
  • In situ hybridization
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Preoptic area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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