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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Neuroendocrinologie Moleculaire de la Reproduction

Circuit-level analysis identifies target genes of sex steroids in ewe seasonal breeding

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2020 Jul 15;512:110825.doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2020.110825. Epub 2020 May 15.

Circuit-level analysis identifies target genes of sex steroids in ewe seasonal breeding
Didier Lomet , Xavier Druart , David Hazlerigg , Massimiliano Beltramo , Hugues Dardente

Thyroid hormone (TH) and estradiol (E2) direct seasonal switches in ovine reproductive physiology. In sheep, as in other mammals and birds, control of thyrotropin (TSH) production by the pars tuberalis (PT) links photoperiod responsiveness to seasonal breeding. PT-derived TSH governs opposite seasonal patterns of the TH deiodinases Dio2/Dio3 expression in tanycytes of the neighboring medio-basal hypothalamus (MBH), which explain the key role of TH. We recently used RNA-Seq to identify seasonal markers in the MBH and define the impact of TH. This impact was found to be quite limited, in terms of number of target genes, and very restricted with regards to neuroanatomical location, as TH specifically impacts genes expressed in tanycytes and hypothalamus, not in the PT. Here we address the impact of E2 on these seasonal markers, which are specifically expressed in either PT, tanycytes or hypothalamus. We also investigate if progesterone (P4) may be involved in timing the seasonal transition to anestrus. Our analysis provides circuit-level insights into the impact of sex steroids on the ewe seasonal breeding cycle. First, seasonal gene expression in the PT is independent of the sex steroid status. The fact that seasonal gene expression in the PT is also TH-independent strengthens the view that the PT is a circannual timer. Second, select tanycytic markers display some level of responsiveness to E2 and P4, which indicates another potential level of feedback control by sex steroids. Third, Kiss1 neurons of the arcuate nucleus are responsive to both TH and E2, which places them at the crossroads of photoperiodic transduction pathway and sex steroid feedback. This provides strong support to the concept that these Kiss1 neurons are pivotal to the long-recognized "seasonal switch in the ability of E2 to exert negative feedback", which drives seasonal breeding.