Netrin-1 Stimulates Developing GnRH Neurons to Extend Neurites to the Median Eminence in a Calcium- Dependent Manner


Hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are required for fertility in all mammalian species studied to date. In rodents, GnRH neuron cell bodies reside in the rostral hypothalamus, and most extend a single long neuronal process in the caudal direction to terminate at the median eminence (ME), the site of hormone secretion. The molecular cues that GnRH neurites use to grow and navigate to the ME during development, however, remain poorly described. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) identified mRNAs encoding Netrin-1, and its receptor, DCC, in the fetal preoptic area (POA) and mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH), respectively, from gestational day 12.5 (GD12.5), a time when the first GnRH neurites extend toward the MBH. Moreover, a subpopulation of GnRH neurons from GD14.5 through GD18.5 express the Netrin-1 receptor, DCC, suggesting a role for Netrin-1/DCC signaling in GnRH neurite growth and/or guidance. In support of this notion, when GD15.5 POA explants, containing GnRH neurons actively extending neurites, were grown in three-dimensional collagen gels and challenged with exogenous Netrin-1 (100 ng/ml or 400 ng/ml) GnRH neurite growth was stimulated. In addition, Netrin-1 provided from a fixed source was able to stimulate outgrowth, although it did not appear to chemoattract GnRH neurites. Finally, the effects of Netrin-1 on the outgrowth of GnRH neurites could be inhibited by blocking either L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) with nifedipine (10 µM), or ryanodine receptors with ryanodine (10 µM). This is consistent with the role of Ca2+ from extra- and intracellular sources in Netrin-1/DCC-dependent growth cone motility in other neurons. These results indicate that Netrin-1 directly stimulates the growth of a subpopulation of GnRH neurites that express DCC, provide further understanding of the mechanisms by which GnRH nerve terminals arrive at their site of hormone secretion, and identify an additional neuronal population whose neurites utilize Netrin-1/DCC signaling for their development.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046999

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@inproceedings{Low2012Netrin1SD, title={Netrin-1 Stimulates Developing GnRH Neurons to Extend Neurites to the Median Eminence in a Calcium- Dependent Manner}, author={Victoria F. Low and Zeno Fiorini and Lorryn Fisher and Christine L. Jasoni}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2012} }