Gonadotropin-Inhibitory Hormone Is a Hypothalamic Peptide That Provides a Molecular Switch between Reproduction and Feeding

Iain J. Clarke
Jeremy T. Smith
Belinda A. Henry
Brian J. Oldfield
Aneta Stefanidis
Robert P. Millar
Ika Puspita Sari
Keefe Chng
Claude Fabre-Nys
Alain Caraty
Beng Ti Ang
Louiza Chan
Gregory S. Fraley, Hope College


Objective: Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH)-3 is a neuropeptide that plays a major role in the regulation of reproduction and feeding in mammals. Materials and Methods:We measured endocrine and behavioural parameters of reproduction in sheep, and sexual behaviour in sheep, mice and cynomolgus monkeys. In addition, GnIH gene expression (in situ hybridization) was examined in ewes, and effects of GnIH-3 on food intake and energy expenditure were measured in various species. GnIH-3 was infused (i.v.) into ewes after an i.m. injection of estradiol benzoate to determine whether the peptide blocks the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion. Results: GnIH gene expression was reduced in the preovulatory period in ewes. Infusion (i.v.) of GnIH-3 blocked the estrogen-induced LH surge (in ewes). Intracerebroventricular infusion had no effect on female or male sexual behaviour in each of the three species, but increased food intake. There were no effects on energy expenditure in sheep or rats. GnIH increased fos protein (immunohistochemistry) was seen in orexigenic neurons (in sheep and rats), but also in anorexigenic neurons (in sheep). Conclusions: GnIH-3 reduces reproductive hormone levels and increases food intake in mammals without reducing energy expenditure. There is minimal effect on reproductive behaviour. The dual effect on reproduction and feeding suggests that GnIH-3 provides a molecular switch between these two functions. Blockade of the positive feedback effect of estrogen with parenteral infusion indicates that this peptide may have utility as a blocker of reproductive function in mammals. Copyright (C) 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel