Kisspeptin (Kiss1) neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) are key components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, as they regulate the basal pulsatile release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). ARC Kiss1 action is dependent on energy status and unmasking metabolic factors responsible for modulating ARC Kiss1 neurons is of great importance. One possible factor is glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an anorexigenic neuropeptide produced by brainstem preproglucagon neurons. As GLP fiber projections and the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) are abundant in the ARC, we hypothesized that GLP-1R signaling could modulate ARC Kiss1 action. Using ovariectomized (OVX) mice, we found that GLP-producing fibers come in close apposition with ARC Kiss1 neurons; these neurons also contain Glp1r mRNA. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that liraglutide (a long-acting GLP-1R agonist) increased action potential firing and caused a direct membrane depolarization of ARC Kiss1 cells in brain slices. We determined that brainstem preproglucagon mRNA is decreased following a 48 h fast in mice, a negative energy state in which ARC Kiss1 expression and downstream GnRH/luteinizing hormone (LH) release are potently suppressed. However, activation of GLP-1R signaling in fasted mice with liraglutide was not sufficient to prevent LH inhibition. Furthermore, chronic central infusions of the GLP-1R antagonist, exendin (9-39) in ad libitum fed mice did not alter ARC Kiss1 mRNA or plasma LH. As a whole, these data identify a novel interaction of the GLP-1 system with ARC Kiss1 neurons but indicate that CNS GLP-1R signaling alone is not critical for the maintenance of LH during fasting or normal feeding.
Significance Statement Reproductive dysfunction is associated with metabolic imbalance, and identifying the underlying molecular mechanisms linking metabolic status with reproductive function is of great importance. Kisspeptin neurons (Kiss1) located in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) are essential for fertility and are potently inhibited during negative energy balance; this inhibition occurs in the presence or absence of ovarian steroids. Preproglucagon-expressing neurons located in the brainstem send abundant fiber projections to the ARC where they release the anorexigenic neuropeptide, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The aim of these studies was to determine the interaction of the CNS GLP-1 system with ARC Kiss1 activity to potentially provide a link between systems that control energy balance with those that control reproductive neuroendocrine output.
KMH, AFB, CB, AJM and KLG are full-time employees of Novo Nordisk which markets liraglutide for the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus and obesity. SRL, MAK, BB, MAB, OKR, CT, and MSS have nothing to disclose.