We tested the working hypothesis that Fos will identify the critical population of kisspeptin neurons that accompanies the LHRH surge using a synchronized follicular phase model in intact cycling ewes. The model generates an LH surge that starts within a defined 2-h window in a 20-d synchronized cycle. With a modified push-pull cannula in vivo LHRH release from the median eminence was sampled in luteal phase ewes, ewes undergoing an LH surge for 2-4 h, and postsurge animals whose LH surge peaked 10-12 h earlier. In vivo release of LHRH was lower in the luteal and follicular phases than in animals undergoing an LH surge (P < 0.01); it fell to presurge levels after the LH surge. Ewes killed 2-4 h after the surge started, expressed Fos in a large portion of preoptic area (POA) kisspeptin (53.90 ± 4.69%, P < 0.01) and LHRH neurons (48.20 ± 4.49%, P < 0.0001) compared with animals euthanized at any of the other times tested (under <5% of the cells activated). Little Fos activation (under5%)wasobserved during any of the times sampled in arcuate (Arc) kisspeptin neurons. The relationship between the number of LHRH neurons and the POA kisspeptin neurons stimulated showed a striking positive correlation with r2 = 0.68, P = 0.0003, reinforcing the evidence that POA kisspeptin neurons actively participate in the stimulation of LHRH surges.
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