GnRH cells are few in number and dispersed across a continuum in the hypothalamus-preoptic area. This has made it relatively difficult to perform studies on GnRH neurons both in vivo and in vitro. Several in vitro models of GnRH cells have been developed, but each has its limitations. Dispersed hypothalamic-preoptic tissue cultures do not have many GnRH cells, and these are extremely sparse and difficult to identify in such cultures. Cultures of embryonic olfactory placode, the source of developing GnRH neurons, have a greater concentration of GnRH neurons, but are obtained from fetuses and may not be representative of adult GnRH cells. Organotypic cultures have also proven useful, but can be difficult to grow and are also derived from neonatal animals. The recent development of transgenic mice with GnRH neurons linked to a reporter molecule, making them more easily identifiable by fluorescence or immunological methods (see Chapter 9) has facilitated the identification of GnRH neurons. However, these animals are a relatively recent arrival to the field and have not yet been characterized extensively. Moreover, most of these systems were not available a decade ago. At that time, the creation of an immortalized cell line was perceived as important for studying the molecular and cellular properties of the otherwise intractable GnRH neurons.
KeywordsVasoactive Intestinal Peptide GnRH Neuron Immortalize Cell Line GnRH Release GnRH mRNA
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