Neural circuits underlying fertility    

Year of award: 2018


  • Prof Allan Herbison

    University of Otago

Project summary

The brain plays a key role in regulating fertility. A network of cells in the brain use the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron to control the pituitary gland that, in turn, regulates the ovary or testis. Recent studies have shown that two different populations of neurons have important roles in this network and they both make the same chemical (kisspeptin). One is involved in generating pulses of GnRH secretion in both sexes, while the other is responsible for the huge surge of hormone that occurs only in women to cause ovulation. 

We will use neuroscience approaches in mouse models to investigate the properties of these two populations of kisspeptin neurons and determine how they control the GnRH neuron. 

Understanding these cells will contribute to the eventual generation of new therapies for the treatment of infertility in humans.