Hypothalamic kisspeptin (Kiss1) neurons provide indispensable excitatory transmission to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons for the coordinated release of gonadotropins, estrous cyclicity, and ovulation. But maintaining reproductive functions is metabolically demanding so there must be a coordination with multiple homeostatic functions, and it is apparent that Kiss1 neurons play that role. There are 2 distinct populations of hypothalamic Kiss1 neurons, namely arcuate nucleus (Kiss1ARH) neurons and anteroventral periventricular and periventricular nucleus (Kiss1AVPV/PeN) neurons in rodents, both of which excite GnRH neurons via kisspeptin release but are differentially regulated by ovarian steroids. Estradiol (E2) increases the expression of kisspeptin in Kiss1AVPV/PeN neurons but decreases its expression in Kiss1ARH neurons. Also, Kiss1ARH neurons coexpress glutamate and Kiss1AVPV/PeN neurons coexpress gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), both of which are upregulated by E2 in females. Also, Kiss1ARH neurons express critical metabolic hormone receptors, and these neurons are excited by insulin and leptin during the fed state. Moreover, Kiss1ARH neurons project to and excite the anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin neurons but inhibit the orexigenic neuropeptide Y/Agouti-related peptide neurons, highlighting their role in regulating feeding behavior. Kiss1ARH and Kiss1AVPV/PeN neurons also project to the preautonomic paraventricular nucleus (satiety) neurons and the dorsomedial nucleus (energy expenditure) neurons to differentially regulate their function via glutamate and GABA release, respectively. Therefore, this review will address not only how Kiss1 neurons govern GnRH release, but how they control other homeostatic functions through their peptidergic, glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic connections, providing further evidence that Kiss1 neurons are the key neurons coordinating energy states with reproduction.
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