SFN Poster of the Year 2011

Awarded by ATS at Society for Neuroscience (SFN) November 12-16, 2011 • Washington, DC

712.07 Arcuate NK3 receptor-expressing KNDy neurons are essential for estrogen modulation of LH secretion and body weight in the female rat
M A Smith, H Williams, S J Krajewski, N T Mcmullen, N E Rance
featuring Experimental Material NKB-SAP, IT-21 Blank-SAP (Poster)

Arcuate kisspeptin, neurokinin B, and dynorphin (KNDy) neurons have been proposed to mediate estrogen negative feedback in multiple species. To determine if these neurons are essential for this feedback, we ablated KNDy neurons in the arcuate nucleus of female rats using [MePhe7]Neurokinin B, a selective NK3 receptor (NK3R) agonist, conjugated to Saporin ([MePhe7]NKB-SAP, Advanced Targeting Systems, San Diego, CA). The specificity of this conjugate for NK3R-expressing KNDy neurons is described in a separate abstract (see Krajewski et al., Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 2011). Twenty-four female rats were ovariectomized (OVX) and received bilateral arcuate microinjections of either [MePhe7]NKB-SAP or a scrambled peptide conjugated to Saporin (Blank-SAP controls). 20-23 days later, animals were implanted with s.c. silastic capsules containing 17β-estradiol (E2), and animals were sacrificed 11 days later. Blood samples for RIA of serum LH were taken at time of OVX and injections (baseline), 20-23 days post-OVX, and 11 days after E2-treatment. Because OVX and E2-treatment have well-described effects on body weight, animals were weighed at the same three time points.
In control animals, OVX induced a 13-fold rise in serum LH, which returned to baseline 11 days after E2 replacement. In contrast, OVX had no effect on serum LH in [MePhe7]NKB-SAP animals. There was a small decrease in serum LH 11 days after E2 replacement in [MePhe7]NKB-SAP animals, but the magnitude of this change was much less than seen in control animals. Control animals also exhibited a 20% increase in body weight 20-23 days after OVX, followed by a significant reduction after E2 replacement. Surprisingly, neither OVX nor E2 replacement affected body weight in [MePhe7]NKB-SAP-treated animals. Rather, these animals showed a steady increase in body weight throughout the experiment, at rates comparable to intact female rats or OVX rats treated with E2 (Williams et al., Endocrinology, 2010). Immunohistochemical studies showed near-complete destruction of KNDy neurons in the arcuate nucleus of [MePhe7]NKB-SAP animals. There was preservation of proopiomelanocortin and neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity in the arcuate nucleus and GnRH-immunoreactive fibers in the median eminence. These data provide compelling evidence that arcuate KNDy neurons play an essential role in estrogen negative feedback on LH secretion as well as the estrogen modulation of body weight.


712.09 Ablation of NK3 receptor-expressing KNDy neurons in the rat arcuate nucleus using [MePhe7]Neurokinin B-Saporin
S J Krajewski, M A Smith, H Williams, P Ciofi, J Y Lai, N T Mcmullen, N E Rance
featuring Experimental Material NKB-SAP, IT-21 Blank-SAP (Poster)

A subpopulation of neurons expressing kisspeptin, neurokinin B and dynorphin (KNDy neurons) has been shown to reside within the arcuate nucleus of many mammalian species. Although these peptides are critical for reproductive function, the precise role of the arcuate KNDy neurons is not fully understood. Here we describe a method to ablate KNDy neurons based on their co-expression of the Neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R, Burke et al., J. Comp. Neurol, 2006). Saporin, a molecular neurotoxin, was conjugated to [MePhe7]Neurokinin B, a selective NK3R agonist ([MePhe7]NKB-SAP, Advanced Targeting Systems, San Diego, CA). Binding studies revealed that the conjugation of saporin did not alter the affinity of [MePhe7]NKB to NK3R in rat cerebral cortex membranes. To investigate the specificity of this conjugate for ablation of NK3R neurons, stereotaxic surgery was used to bilaterally inject [MePhe7]NKB-SAP into the arcuate nucleus of female rats. Control rats were injected with saporin conjugated to a scrambled peptide (Blank-SAP, Advanced Targeting Systems). Rats were sacrificed 31-34 days later and the brains were processed for immunohistochemical studies. Nissl stained sections from [MePhe7]NKB-SAP-treated rats showed no signs of inflammation at the injection sites and no qualitative changes in cell density compared to Blank-SAP control rats. Immunohistochemistry revealed near-complete loss of NK3R-immunoreactive (ir) neurons throughout the arcuate nucleus of [MePhe7]NKB-SAP rats. When the injection site was dorsal to the arcuate nucleus, there was also variable loss of NK3R-ir cells in the lateral hypothalamus and zona incerta. In the arcuate nucleus, [MePhe7]NKB-SAP injections resulted in a 98% and 94% reduction in the number of kisspeptin and neurokinin B-ir neurons, respectively, compared to Blank-SAP controls. The number of dynorphin-ir neurons in the arcuate nucleus of [MePhe7]NKB-SAP-treated rats was reduced by 67%, a value consistent with the co-expression of NK3R on dynorphin neurons in our previous study (Burke et al., J. Comp. Neurol, 2006). In contrast, arcuate proopiomelanocortin and neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity were preserved in [MePhe7]NKB-SAP rats. Moreover, there was no difference in GnRH-ir fiber density in the median eminence between the two groups. These results document the utility of [MePhe7]NKB-SAP for selective ablation of NK3R-expressing KNDy neurons in rat hypothalamus. These rats were used to examine the role of KNDy neurons in the estrogen regulation of LH secretion and body weight in the female rat (see Smith et al., Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 2011).