Androgen regulation of hypothalamic neurons containing gonadotropin-releasing hormone in a cichlid fish: integration with social cues.

Abstract

Reproduction in vertebrates is regulated by internal signals such as hormone levels and by external signals such as social interactions. In an African cichlid fish, Haplochromis burtoni, the effect of social interactions is evident in the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis of males. Territorial males, characterized by aggressive and reproductive activity, have significantly larger hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-containing neurons and larger testes than nonterritorial males. Furthermore, a switch in the social status of an adult male causes a corresponding change in GnRH neuron size and testis size. Here we show that the GnRH-containing neurons in the hypothalamus of adult territorial males are also influenced by gonadal hormones. Castration of territorial males caused GnRH neurons to increase in size. This neuronal hypertrophy in castrated animals was prevented either by testosterone (T) or 11-ketotestosterone (KT) treatment. Estradiol (E2) treatment did not reduce GnRH cell size in castrated animals. These results suggest that androgens reduce the size of GnRH cells through negative feedback. Since E2 had no effect, androgen influence on GnRH cell size appears to be independent of aromatization. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the setpoint for hypothalamic GnRH cell size is determined by social cues and that this setpoint is maintained by negative feedback from gonadal androgens.

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@article{Soma1996AndrogenRO, title={Androgen regulation of hypothalamic neurons containing gonadotropin-releasing hormone in a cichlid fish: integration with social cues.}, author={Kiran K. Soma and Robert C. Francis and John C Wingfield and Russell D. Fernald}, journal={Hormones and behavior}, year={1996}, volume={30 3}, pages={216-26} }