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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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GnRH NEURON BIOLOGY AND CONGENITAL HYPOGONADOTROPIC HYPOGONADISM
Antonella LETTIERI, Roberto OLEARI, Jessica GIMMELLI, Valentina ANDRÉ, Anna CARIBONI
Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
In mammals fertility depends on timely onset and cyclic secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), secreted by scattered hypothalamic neurons (GnRH neurons). These cells originate in the nasal placode and migrate first in the nasal compartment, then through the cribriform plate and finally across the basal forebrain, before they set in their final position in the hypothalamus. This long journey is regulated by many different factors that could be mutated in neuroendocrine syndromes such as congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH), Kallmann Syndrome (KS) and CHARGE syndrome. Recently, semaphorins, a large family of molecules, previously discovered as axon guidance cues, are emerging as key regulators of the neuroendocrine control of GnRH neurons and are acquiring an increasing role in the etiopathogenesis of CHH and KS. Specifically, semaphorins play a multifaceted action in GnRH neuron biology: on one hand regulating their migration and survival during embryonic development and, on the other, controlling the plasticity of the median eminence (ME) in terms of its response to varying sex steroid hormone levels. In this review we will focus our attention on recent studies describing the roles of different semaphorins in the normal and pathological biology of the GnRH neuronal system.