Reproductive role of miRNA in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis


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Abstract

The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis plays a critical role in regulating reproductive function. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is secreted by the hypothalamus, acts on pituitary gonadotrophs to stimulate luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) synthesis and secretion, ultimately affecting the animal's fertility. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs that are widely expressed throughout the brain and can fine-tune gene expression post-transcriptionally. Recently, growing evidence has unveiled the central position of miRNAs within a key regulatory process involving GnRH secretion and subsequent activation in the pituitary. Although transcriptional regulation of reproduction has been well studied, the post-transcriptional processes are less well understood. In this review, we elaborate comprehensively on the critical role of miRNAs in the reproductive process, including both temporal and spatial aspects. A better understanding of how miRNAs impact the neuroendocrine system may improve our knowledge of reproduction and provide novel targets for therapeutic development.HighlightsThe emerging role of miRNAs in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis for reproductionCurrent expression of miRNAs in the hypothalamic-pituitary axisExpanding the knowledge of miRNAs in the brain

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