Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that inhibits gonadotropin secretion and socio-sexual behaviours. Oestrogen (neuroestrogen) synthesized in the brain from androgen by aromatase regulates male socio-sexual behaviours. Here we show that GnIH directly activates aromatase and increases neuroestrogen synthesis in the preoptic area (POA) and inhibits socio-sexual behaviours of male quail. Aromatase activity and neuroestrogen concentration in the POA are low in the morning when the birds are active, but neuroestrogen synthesis gradually increases until the evening when the birds become inactive. Centrally administered GnIH in the morning increases neuroestrogen synthesis in the POA and decreases socio-sexual behaviours. Centrally administered 17β-oestradiol at higher doses also inhibits socio-sexual behaviours in the morning. These results suggest that GnIH inhibits male socio-sexual behaviours by increasing neuroestrogen synthesis beyond its optimum concentration for the expression of socio-sexual behaviours. This is the first demonstration of any hypothalamic neuropeptide that directly regulates neuroestrogen synthesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Chemistry
- General Physics and Astronomy