Insulin-like growth factor-I activates KiSS-1 gene expression in the brain of the prepubertal female rat.
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KiSS-1 gene expression has been shown to increase as puberty approaches, and its peptide products, kisspeptins, are involved in LHRH secretion at puberty. Factors contributing to increased KiSS-1 expression, however, have not been identified; thus, the purpose of this study was to assess whether IGF-I could induce transcription of this gene in prepubertal female rats. IGF-I or saline was centrally administered to immature rats that were killed 2, 4, and 6 h later. Real-time PCR revealed that IGF-I induced (P < 0.01) KiSS-1 gene expression at 6 h in a tissue fragment that contained both the anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) and arcuate (ARC) nuclei. Subsequently, the AVPV and ARC nuclei were separated to assess whether region-specific effects could be identified. IGF-I stimulated (P < 0.01) KiSS-1 gene expression in the AVPV nucleus at 6 h after injection, with no change observed in the ARC nucleus. Serum estradiol (E2) levels were not altered at any time point after IGF-I, demonstrating that the increased KiSS-1 expression observed was not caused by an elevation in E2. Additionally, the IGF-I action to induce KiSS-1 gene expression in the AVPV nucleus was further demonstrated when the IGF-I was administered systemically. E2 appears to play an important permissive role because 1-d ovariectomized rats responded to IGF-I with increased (P < 0.01) KiSS-1 expression, whereas, 20 d after ovariectomy, when the E2 levels had fallen below assay sensitivity, the IGF-I was unable to induce KiSS-1 expression. The IGF-I effect was further demonstrated by showing that the IGF-I receptor antagonist, JB-1, blocked the IGF-I-induced increase in KiSS-1 expression. Collectively, these data indicate that IGF-I is an activator of the KiSS-1 gene in the prepubertal female rat.