Kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling plays an essential role in normal reproduction in mammals via stimulation of gonadotropin secretion. Here, we cloned the porcine KISS1 cDNA from the hypothalamic tissue and investigated the effect of estrogen on the distribution and numbers of KISS1 mRNA-expressing cells in the porcine hypothalamus. The full length of the cDNA was 857 bp encoding the kisspeptin of 54 amino acids, with the C-terminal active motif designated kisspeptin-10 being identical to that of mouse, rat, cattle, and sheep. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that KISS1-positive cell populations were mainly distributed in the hypothalamic periventricular nucleus (PeN) and arcuate nucleus (ARC). KISS1 expression in the PeN of ovariectomized (OVX) pigs was significantly upregulated by estradiol benzoate (EB) treatment. On the other hand, KISS1-expressing cells were abundantly distributed throughout the ARC in both OVX and OVX with EB animals. The number of KISS1-expressing neurons was significantly lowered by EB treatment only in the most caudal part of the ARC, but other ARC populations were not affected. The present study thus suggests that the PeN kisspeptin neurons could be responsible for the estrogen positive feedback regulation to induce gonadotropin-releasing hormone/luteinizing hormone (GnRH/LH) surge in the pig. In addition, the caudal ARC kisspeptin neurons could be involved in the estrogen negative feedback regulation of GnRH/LH release. This is the first report of identification of porcine KISS1 gene and of estrogen regulation of KISS1 expression in the porcine brain, which may be helpful for better understanding of the role of kisspeptin in reproduction of the pig.
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Vol. 82 • No. 2