PloS one

Colocalization of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript with kisspeptin and neurokinin B in the human infundibular region.

PMID 25084101


Kisspeptin (KP)- and neurokinin B (NKB)- synthesizing neurons of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus play a pivotal role in the regulation of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. Unlike in rodents and sheep, the homologous KP and NKB neurons in the human infundibular region rarely express dynorphin- but often exhibit Substance P (SP) immunoreactivity, indicating remarkable species differences in the neurochemical phenotype of these neurons. In search for additional neuropeptides in human KP and NKB neurons, we carried out immunofluorescent studies on hypothalamic sections obtained from five postmenopausal women. Colocalization experiments provided evidence for the presence of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) in 47.9 ± 6.6% of KP-immunoreactive (IR) and 30.0 ± 4.9% of NKB-IR perikarya and in 17.0 ± 2.3% of KP-IR and 6.2 ± 2.0% of NKB-IR axon varicosities. All three neuropeptides were present in 33.3 ± 4.9% of KP-IR and 28.2 ± 4.6% of NKB-IR somata, respectively, whereas triple-labeling showed lower incidences in KP-IR (14.3 ± 1.8%) and NKB-IR (5.9 ± 2.0%) axon varicosities. CART-IR KP and NKB neurons established contacts with other peptidergic cells, including GnRH-IR neurons and also sent projections to the infundibular stalk. KP and NKB fibers with CART often contained SP as well, while being distinct from CART fibers co-containing the orexigenic peptide agouti-related protein. Presence of CART in human, but not rodent, KP and NKB neurons represents a new example of species differences in the neuropeptide repertoire of mediobasal hypothalamic KP and NKB neurons. Target cells, receptor sites and physiological significance of CART in the efferent communication of KP and NKB neurons in primates require clarification.