Pharmacological and Morphological Evidence of AMPK-Mediated Energy Sensing in the Lower Brain Stem Ependymocytes to Control Reproduction in Female Rodents.

PMID 25822714


Ependymocytes are one of the energy-sensing cells that regulate animal reproduction through their responsiveness to changes in extracellular glucose levels and the expression of pancreatic-type glucokinase and glucose transporter 2, which play a critical role in sensing blood glucose levels in pancreatic β-cells. Molecular mechanisms underlying glucose sensing in the ependymocytes remain poorly understood. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a serine/threonine kinase highly conserved in all eukaryotic cells, has been suggested to be an intracellular fuel gauge that detects cellular energy status. The present study aims to clarify the role AMPK of the lower brainstem ependymocytes has in sensing glucose levels to regulate reproductive functions. First, we will show that administration of 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside, an AMPK activator, into the 4th ventricle suppressed pulsatile LH release in female rats. Second, we will demonstrate the presence of AMPK catalytic subunit immunoreactivities in the rat lower brainstem ependymocytes. Third, transgenic mice were generated to visualize the ependymocytes with Venus, a green fluorescent protein, expressed under the control of the mouse vimentin promoter for further in vitro study. The Venus-labeled ependymocytes taken from the lower brainstem of transgenic mice revealed that AMPK activation by 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-D-ribofuranoside, an AMPK activator, increased in vitro intracellular calcium concentrations. Taken together, malnutrition-induced AMPK activation of ependymocytes of the lower brainstem might be involved in suppression of GnRH/LH release and then gonadal activities.