Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 45, Number 3, May-June 2005
SYMPOSIUM: Homage to Professor Charles Thibault
Page(s) 243 - 254
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 45 (2005) 243-254
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2005017

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone and the control of gonadotrope function

Raymond Counisa, Jean-Noël Laverrièrea, Ghislaine Garrela, Christian Bleuxa, Joëlle Cohen-Tannoudjia, Yannick Lerrantb, Marie-Laure Kottlerc and Solange Magrea

a  Physiologie de l'axe gonadotrope, UMR-CNRS 7079, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
b  Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie, Nouméa, Nouvelle Calédonie
c  Département de génétique et reproduction, CHU de Caen, Caen, France

Abstract - Normal gametogenesis and steroidogenesis is highly dependent on the pulsatile release of hypothalamic GnRH that binds high-affinity receptors present at the surface of pituitary gonadotrophs thereby triggering the synthesis and release of the gonadotropins LH and FSH. The mammalian GnRH receptor displays the classical heptahelical structure of G protein-coupled receptors with, however, a unique feature, the lack of a C-terminal tail. Accordingly, it does not desensitise sensu stricto, and internalises very poorly. It is now well established that GnRH stimulation induces the activation of a complex network of transduction pathways involved in the control of gonadotropin release and subunit gene expression. Other authors and ourselves have demonstrated that the GnRH action is associated with an increased complexity regarding gene regulation/cell function. Indeed GnRH affects the GnRH receptor gene itself and a number of additional genes that include some involved in cell signalling and auto-/paracrine regulation. The fact that GnRH regulates the expression of its own receptor, together with a host of other genes typically involved in its signal transduction cascades implies alteration/auto-adaptation in gonadotropic responsiveness. Furthermore, some of these genes respond differentially depending on whether the GnRH stimulation is intermittent or permanent suggesting specific roles in the dual process of activation/desensitisation. Thus, it can be assumed that the importance of pulsatility of GnRH action is closely related to, or dependent on, the inability of the GnRH receptor to desensitise. Moreover, multiple post-receptor events are crucial for both the regulation/plasticity of gonadotropic function and the maintenance of cell integrity.

Key words: GnRH receptor / signalling / gene regulation / transcription factor / gonadotropins / secretion

Corresponding author: Raymond Counis

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005