Vol 44, No 1 (2006)
Original paper
Published online: 2006-04-06

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The role of nitric oxide in the hypothalamic control of LHRH and oxytocin release, sexual behavior and aging of the LHRH and oxytocin neurons.

Jarosław Całka
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2006;44(1):3-12.


Nitric oxide (NO) affects reproductive processes both at the level of the brain and reproductive tract and this review is focused on its role as an essential regulator of the hypothalamic control of reproduction. The data gathered indicate that glutamate stimulates noradrenergic neurons which subsequently activate NO-ergic cells via alpha1-adrenergic receptors. The released NO diffuses into luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) terminals where it triggers LHRH secretion by activation of guanylyl cyclase and cyclooxygenase. The NO released by estrogen-stimulated NO-ergic ventromedial neurons plays a crucial role in the regulation of sexual behavior. Furthermore, an increased expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the LHRH and oxytocin neurons underlies the destructive action of NO on the aging of the hypothalamic neuroendocrine pathways. Within the hypothalamo-hypophyseal system, NO exerts an inhibitory effect in the control of oxytocin secretion. This action seems to employ an indirect mechanism by which NO may modulate the release of GABA. This review provides an overview of the role of NO in hypothalamic control of LHRH and oxytocin release, aging of the LHRH and oxytocin neurons and sexual behavior.

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