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Kisspeptin, a peptide encoded by the Kiss1 gene, has been considered as a potential candidate for a factor triggering the onset of puberty, and its expression in the hypothalamus was found to increase during peripubertal period in rodent models. The present study aimed to clarify the oestrogenic regulation of peripubertal changes in Kiss1 mRNA expression in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) and hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), and to determine which population of kisspeptin neurones shows a change in kisspeptin expression parallel to that in luteinising hormone (LH) pulses at the peripubertal period. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry revealed an apparent increase in the ARC Kiss1 mRNA expression and kisspeptin immunoreactivity around the time of vaginal opening in intact female rats. The AVPV Kiss1 mRNA levels also increased at day 26, but decreased at day 31, and then increased at day 36/41. In ovariectomised (OVX) rats, ARC Kiss1 mRNA expression did not show peripubertal changes and was kept at a high level throughout peripubertal periods. Apparent LH pulses were found in these prepubertal OVX rats. Oestradiol replacement suppressed ARC Kiss1 mRNA expression in OVX prepubertal rats, but not in adults. Similarly, LH pulses were suppressed by oestradiol in the prepubertal period (days 21 and 26), but regular pulses were found in adulthood. The present study suggests that a pubertal increase of Kiss1/kisspeptin expression both in the ARC and AVPV is involved in the onset of puberty. These results also suggest that both LH pulses and ARC Kiss1 expression are more negatively regulated by oestrogen in prepubertal female rats compared to adult rats.