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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2019) 3 RDRRDR17 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.3.017

REDR1994 Reproduction in Domestic Ruminants III Regulation of Gonadotrophin Secretion (8 abstracts)

Gamma amino-butyric acid and the control of GnRH secretion in sheep

JE Robinson

Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Department of Neurobiology, The Babraham Institute, Babraham, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK

The release of GnRH from nerve terminals in the median eminence into the portal vessels is influenced by factors in the internal and external environment of the animal. In the former category are the gonadal steroid hormones oestrogen and progesterone which alter the characteristics of GnRH secretion during the oestrous and seasonal cycles. These cannot exert their actions directly on the GnRH neurones as they do not possess hormone receptors. Therefore, some other steroid-sensitive neuronal system must relay this information to the GnRH neurones. Gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) neurones are good candidates for this role as they contain steroid hormone receptors and synapse on GnRH neurones. Recent studies in ewes have sought to identify a role for GABA in mediating the actions of both oestrogen and progesterone on GnRH release. The technique of microdialysis was used to monitor GABA concentrations in areas containing GnRH cell bodies during the oestrogen-induced surge of GnRH and during progesterone negative feedback. Concentrations of this inhibitory neurotransmitter have been shown to fall in the former situation where GnRH release is being stimulated, but to be increased when progesterone is depressing GnRH release. GABA may also be important in mediating the seasonal switch in the negative feedback actions of oestradiol. During the anoestrous season, when oestradiol is a potent inhibitor of GnRH secretion, specific GABA receptor antagonists can stimulate neurohormone release, an action that is not observed in the breeding season when oestrogen is much less potent.

© 1995 Journals of Reproduction and Fertility Ltd

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