The Luteinising Hormone Surge-Generating System is Functional in Male Goats as in Females: Involvement of Kisspeptin Neurones in the Medial Preoptic Area

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A luteinising hormone (LH) surge is fundamental to the induction of ovulation in mammalian females. The administration of a preovulatory level of oestrogen evokes an LH surge in ovariectomised females, whereas the response to oestrogen in castrated males differs among species; namely, the LH surge-generating system is sexually differentiated in some species (e.g. rodents and sheep) but not in others (e.g. primates). In the present study, we aimed to determine whether there is a functional LH surge-generating system in male goats, and whether hypothalamic kisspeptin neurones in male goats are involved in the regulation of surge-like LH secretion. By i.v. infusion of oestradiol (E2; 6 μg/h) for 16 h, a surge-like LH increase occurred in both castrated male and ovariectomised female goats, although the mean peak LH concentration was lower and the mean peak of the LH surge was later in males compared to females. Dual staining with KISS1 in situ hybridisation and c-Fos immunohistochemistry revealed that E2 treatment significantly increased c-Fos expression in the medial preoptic area (mPOA) KISS1 cells in castrated males, as well as ovariectomised females. By contrast, dual-labelled cells were scarcely detected in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) after E2 treatment in both sexes. These data suggest that kisspeptin neurones in the mPOA, but not those in the ARC, are involved in the induction of surge-like LH secretion in both male and female goats. In summary, our data show that the mechanism that initiates the LH surge in response to oestrogen, the mPOA kisspeptin neurones, is functional in male goats. Thus, sexual differentiation of the LH surge-generating system would not be applicable to goats.

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