Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is an inhibitor of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. GnIH is also called RFamide-related peptide (RFRP) as GnIH peptides have a characteristic C-terminal LPXRFiamide (X = L or Q) sequence. GnIH is thought to be the mediator of stress by negatively regulating the HPG axis as various stressors increase GnIH mRNA, GnIH peptide or GnIH neuronal activity. On the other hand, GnIH may also mediate behavioral stress responses as GnIH neuronal fibers and GnIH receptors are widely located in the limbic system of telencephalon, diencephalon and midbrain area. Previous studies have shown that intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of GnIH (RFRP) blocks morphine-induced analgesia in hot plate and formalin injection tests in rats suggesting that GnIH increases sensitivity to pain. GnIH (RFRP) also increases anxiety-like behavior in rats. RNA interference of GnIH gene (GnIH RNAi) increases locomotor activity of white-crowned sparrow and Japanese quail and i.c.v. administration of GnIH decreases GnIH RNAi induced locomotor activity. It was further shown that i.c.v. administration of GnIH (RFRP) decreases aggressive behavior in male quail and sexual behavior in male rats, female white-crowned sparrow and female hamsters. These results suggest that GnIH decreases threat to homeostasis of the organism by increasing pain sensitivity, anxiety and decreasing locomotor activity, aggressive behavior and sexual behavior. GnIH may also mediate the effect of stress on behavior.
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