PublicationsDaily and Estral Regulation of RFRP-3 Neurons in the Female Mice
Female reproductive success relies on proper integration of circadian- and ovarian- signals to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in order to synchronize the preovulatory LH surge at the end of the ovarian follicular stage with the onset of the main active period. In this study, we used a combination of neuroanatomical and electrophysiological approaches to assess whether the hypothalamic neurons expressing Arg-Phe amide-related peptide (RFRP-3), a gonadotropin inhibitory peptide, exhibit daily and estrous stage dependent variations in female mice. Furthermore, we investigated whether arginine vasopressin (AVP), a circadian peptide produced by the suprachiamatic nucleus regulates RFRP-3 neurons. The number of c-Fos-positive RFRP-3 immunoreactive neurons is significantly reduced at the day-to-night transition with no difference between diestrus and proestrus. Contrastingly, RFRP neuron firing rate is higher in proestrus as compared to diestrus, independently of the time of the day. AVP immunoreactive fibers contact RFRP neurons with the highest density observed during the late afternoon of diestrus and proestrus. Application of AVP increases RFRP neurons firing in the afternoon (ZT6-10) of diestrus, but not at the same time point of proestrus, indicating that AVP signaling on RFRP neurons may depend on circulating ovarian steroids. Together, these studies show that RFRP neurons integrate both daily and estrogenic signals, which downstream may help to properly time the preovulatory LH surge.