GnRH-GnRH-Receptor System in the Mammalian Female Reproductive Tract

  • Indrajit Chowdhury
  • Rajagopala Sridaran

Reproduction in mammals is controlled by interactions between the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary, and gonads. The hypothalamus secretes synchronized pulses of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) as the central initiator of the reproductive hormonal cascade from the diffusely arranged network of neuronal nerve endings of about 800 (rodents) to 1,500–2,000 (human) into the hypophyseal portal system every 30–120 min. GnRH stimulates the biosynthesis and secretion of the gonadotropic hormones, LH, and FSH by the anterior pituitary that in turn regulate the production of gametes and gonadal hormones as a key regulator of the reproductive functions. In the 1970 s, GnRH was first isolated from hypothalamus of pigs and sheep, and the subsequent realization that the decapeptide sequence was conserved across all mammals. This form of GnRH is referred as GnRH-I or type I mammalian GnRH (mGnRH). In 1977, Andrew Schally, Roger Guillemin, and co-workers shared the Nobel Prize in the field of Medicine for their discovery. In the early 1980 s, a second GnRH isoform from chickens was isolated (chicken GnRH; GnRH-II) [1] and a third isoform was identified in fish (salmon GnRH) [2]. Currently, a total of 23 different isoforms of chordate GnRH have been isolated [3–5]. All of these isoforms are decapeptides that share a high degree of sequence identity at both NH2- and COOH-terminals. This overview describes the recent literature regarding the GnRH primary structure, tissue distribution in female reproductive system, synthesis, secretion, and signaling pathways with current understanding on their cognate receptors and functional significance in relation to female reproductive system.


Granulosa Cell Ovarian Cancer Cell Corpus Luteum Ovarian Cancer Cell Line Ovarian Surface Epithelial 


13.10Glossary of Terms and Acronyms


activator protein-1




Bcl-2 family member


ovarian cell line


CCAAT/enhancer binding protein


product of the proto-oncogene c-fos that dimerize with c-Jun (c-Fos/c-Jun heterodimer) to form the transcription factor AP-1


caspase inhibitor


caspase inhibitor


product of the proto-oncogene c-jun that dimerize with c-Fos to form the transcription factor AP-1.


cAMP response element




diagonal band of Broca


ovarian cancer cell line


ovarian cancer cell line


epidermal growth factor


epidermal growth factor receptor


extracellular loop


estrogen receptor


extracellular signal-regulated kinase


follicle stimulating hormone


GnRH-associated peptide region


somatolactotroph cells


granulosa luteal cells


gonadotropin-releasing hormone


gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor


GnRHR-specific enhancer


G protein-coupled receptors


GnRHR activating sequence


glucocorticoid responsive element/ progesterone responsive element


G protein-coupled receptor kinases


human granulosa-luteal cells


high-performance liquid chromatography


immortalized extravillous trophoblast


inhibitor of kappa B


intracellular loop


in vitro fertilization


placental cell line


Jun N-terminal kinase


gonadotroph cell line


luteinizing hormone


mitogen activated protein kinases

MEK 1:

threonine and tyrosine recognition kinase


matrix metalloproteinase


melatonin receptor subtype


melatonin receptor subtype


nuclear factor-kappa B


negative regulatory element


ovarian epithelial cells


ovarian surface epithelial cells


ovarian cell line


plasminogen activator inhibitor


polymerase chain reaction


pan pituitary homeobox transcription factor


protein kinase C


preoptic area of the brain


preoptic area of anterior hypothalamus


progesterone receptor


progesterone receptor elements


oncogene of the Harvey (rasH) and Kristen (rasK) rat sarcoma viruses. These genes, which are frequently activated in human tumors, encode a 21 kD G-protein.


RNA-binding motif protein-8A


reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction


steroidogenic factor-1


ovarian cell line


name of the first described retroviral oncogene (v-src), from the chicken Rous sarcoma retrovirus and its precursor (c-src), which encode a membrane-associated protein kinase.


sequence underlying responsiveness to GnRH element


human ovarian granulosa-luteal cell line


theca luteal cells


human ovarian granulosa-luteal cell line


neuronal cell line




untranslated region


inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate


ovarian cell line


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Indrajit Chowdhury
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rajagopala Sridaran
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyMorehouse School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyMorehouse School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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