Differential gene expression in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons of male and metestrous female mice

Csaba Vastagh, Annie Rodolosse, Norbert Solymosi, Imre Farkas, Herbert Auer, Miklós Sárvári, Zsolt Liposits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons play a pivotal role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis in a sex-specific manner. We hypothesized that the differences seen in reproductive functions of males and females are associated with a sexually dimorphic gene expression profile of GnRH neurons. Methods and Results: We compared the transcriptome of GnRH neurons obtained from intact metestrous female and male GnRH-green fluorescent protein transgenic mice. About 1,500 individual GnRH neurons from each sex were sampled with laser capture microdissection followed by whole-transcriptome amplification for gene expression profiling. Under stringent selection criteria (fold change >1.6, adjusted p value 0.01), Affymetrix Mouse Genome 430 PM array analysis identified 543 differentially expressed genes. Sexual dimorphism was most apparent in gene clusters associated with synaptic communication, signal transduction, cell adhesion, vesicular transport and cell metabolism. To validate microarray results, 57 genes were selected, and 91% of their differential expression was confirmed by real-time PCR. Similarly, 88% of microarray results were confirmed with PCR from independent samples obtained by patch pipette harvesting and pooling of 30 GnRH neurons from each sex. We found significant differences in the expression of genes involved in vesicle priming and docking (Syt1, Cplx1), GABAergic (Gabra3, Gabrb3, Gabrg2) and glutamatergic (Gria1, Grin1, Slc17a6) neurotransmission, peptide signaling (Sstr3, Npr2, Cxcr4) and the regulation of intracellular ion homeostasis (Cacna1, Cacnb1, Cacng5, Kcnq2, Kcnc1). Conclusion: The striking sexual dimorphism of the GnRH neuron transcriptome we report here contributes to a better understanding of the differences in cellular mechanisms of GnRH neurons in the two sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015



  • Dimorphism
  • Gene expression
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
  • Laser capture microdissection
  • Microarray
  • Pico profiling
  • Real-time PCR
  • Single-cell qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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