Serotonin (5-HT), the endogenous nonselective 5-HT receptor agonist, activates the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate/calcium (InsP3/Ca2+) signaling pathway and exerts both stimulatory and inhibitory actions on cAMP prodn. and GnRH release in immortalized GnRH neurons. The high degree of similarity between the signaling and secretory responses elicited by GnRH and 5-HT prompted the authors to target specific 5-HT receptor subtypes to deconvolute the complex actions of these agonists on signal transduction and GnRH release. Specific mRNA transcripts for 5-HT1A, 5-HT2C, 5-HT4, and 5-HT7 were identified in immortalized GnRH neurons (GT1-7). The rate of firing of spontaneous action potentials (APs) by hypothalamic GnRH neurons and cAMP prodn. and pulsatile GnRH release in GT17 cells were profoundly inhibited during activation of the Gi-coupled 5-HT1A receptor. Treatment with a selective agonist to activate the Gq-coupled 5-HT2C receptor increased the rate of firing of spontaneous APs, stimulated InsP3 prodn. and caused a delayed increase in GnRH release. Selective activation of the Gs-coupled 5-HT4 receptor also increased the rate of firing of APs, stimulated cAMP prodn., and caused a sustained and robust increase in GnRH release. The ability of 5-HT receptor subtypes expressed in GnRH neurons to activate single or multiple G proteins in a time- and dose-dependent manner differentially regulates the phospholipase C/InsP3/Ca2+, and adenylyl cyclase/cAMP signaling pathways, and thereby regulates the frequency and amplitude of pulsatile GnRH release. This process, in conjunction with the modulation of spontaneous elec. activity of the GnRH neuron, contributes to the control of the pulsatile mode of neuropeptide secretion that is characteristic of GnRH neuronal function in vivo and in vitro.
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