Author(s): Smith JT, Clarke IJ
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Abstract Puberty is defined as the awakening of the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis. Sheep are seasonal breeders, experiencing an annual period of reproductive quiescence and renaissance that can be utilized as a model for the onset of puberty. Kisspeptin and gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone appear to be important for the seasonal shift in reproductive activity and the former is mandatory for puberty. The non-breeding season is characterized by an increase in the negative feedback effect of estrogen on GnRH and gonadotropin secretion, as is the case in the pre-pubertal period. This effect of estrogen may be transmitted by kisspeptin cells. Additionally, dopaminergic A14/A15 neurons facilitate the seasonal change in estrogen negative feedback. Integrated function of these three groups of neurons appears to modulate the annual shift in photoperiod to a physiological change in fertility. This review compares and contrasts seasonal cycles of reproduction with the mechanisms that relate to the onset of puberty. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Mol Cell Endocrinol
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology