Nutritional Influences on Reproductive Neuroendocrine Output: Insulin, Leptin, and Orexigenic Neuropeptide Signaling in the Ovine Hypothalamus

David W. Miller, Joanne L. Harrison, Ellen J. Bennett, Patricia Findlay, Clare L. Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated how changing nutritional status may alter reproductive neuroendocrine (LH) output via circulating leptin and insulin signaling through orexigenic hypothalamic pathways. Thin sheep were given an increasing nutritional plane (INP), sheep with intermediate adiposity a static nutritional plane ( SNP), and fat sheep a decreasing nutritional plane (DNP) for 6 wk. Mean group adiposities converged by wk 6, LH output increased in INP, remained unchanged in SNP, and decreased in DNP sheep. Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) insulin and plasma leptin concentrations increased in INP but did not change in the SNP and DNP groups. In INP sheep, LH output correlated positively with adiposity and plasma and CSF insulin concentrations and negatively with orexigenic neuropeptide Y gene expression in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC). In DNP sheep, LH output correlated positively with adiposity, CSF leptin concentrations, and ARC proopiomelanocortin gene expression and negatively with leptin receptor (OB-Rb) and agouti-related peptide gene expression in the ARC. These data are consistent with the feedback response to an increasing nutritional plane being mediated by increasing circulating insulin entering the brain and stimulating LH via inhibition of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y and the response to a decreasing nutritional plane being mediated by altered hypothalamic leptin signaling brought about by increased OB-Rb expression and decreased melanocortin signaling. Because end point adiposity was similar yet LH output was different, the hypothalamus apparently retains a nutritional memory, based on changes in orexigenic neuropeptide expression, that influences contemporary neuroendocrine responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5313-5322
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Early online date16 Aug 2007
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • luteinizing-hormone secretion
  • agouti-related peptide
  • Y gene-expression
  • receptor OB-RB
  • LH-secretion
  • food-intake
  • male sheep
  • intracerebroventricular leptin
  • gonadotropin-secretion
  • body-weight

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