Vol 66, No 6 (2015)
Review paper
Published online: 2015-12-07

open access

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The role of kisspeptin signalling in the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis — current perspective

Zeeshan Javed, Unaiza Qamar, Thozhukat Sathyapalan
DOI: 10.5603/EP.2015.0066
Pubmed: 26662653
Endokrynol Pol 2015;66(6):534-547.


The discovery of kisspeptins in the recent past remoulded current understanding of the neuroendocrine axis relating to the regulation of human puberty and reproduction. Kisspeptins have been recognised to act upstream of GnRH and have been shown to play a vital role in the control of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis via regulation of gonadotrophin secretion, onset of puberty, and control of fertility. KNDy (kisspeptin/neurokinin-B/dynorphin) neurons have been suggested to modulate GnRH pulsatile secretion, which is required to support reproductive function in both sexes. They have also been involved in mediating both positive and negative sex steroid feedback signals to GnRH neurons and serve as a vital connection between reproduction and metabolic status of the body. When kisspeptin is administered to healthy humans, and in patients with reproductive disorders, it strongly and directly stimulates GnRH and subsequent LH secretion and enhances LH pulse frequency. These observations suggest that kisspeptins are a potential novel therapeutic approach for treating disorders with either pathologically reduced or augmented gonadotrophins pulsatile secretion and is currently a focus of translational research. Kisspeptins have also been identified in several peripheral reproductive organs, indicating their role in modulation of ovarian function, embryo implantation, and placentation, but a great deal of work remains to be done to explore further in this regard, and the evidence is only available from studies done on animal models. In this review we will mainly focus on current available evidence related to the role of kisspeptins in controlling GnRH pulse frequency, specifically their role in puberty, fertility, and reproduction. We will also be appraising other factors that regulate the kiSS1/Kisspeptin/GPR-54 system. (Endokrynol Pol 2015; 66 (6): 534–547)