Neurokinin B (NKB) plays important roles in the mammalian reproductive axis by modulating the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and gonadotropins. In the present study, the tac3 cDNA was cloned from a hermaphroditic species, the orange-spotted grouper. Sequence analysis showed that the grouper Tac3 precursor encoded two tachykinin peptides, NKB and NKB-related peptide (NKBRP). Expression analysis in different tissues revealed that tac3 mRNA was highly expressed in the brain of the orange-spotted grouper. In situ hybridization further revealed that it was localized in some hypothalamic nuclei associated with reproductive regulation. During ovarian development, an increase of tac3 expression in the hypothalamus was observed at vitellogenesis stage. Intraperitoneal administration of NKB could increase the gnrh1 and lhβ mRNA levels, and enhance the serum estrogen levels, but did not significantly influence lhβ expression in cultured pituitary cells, indicating that NKB does not directly exert its actions on the pituitary gland. However, it was found that NKBRP had no effect on the expression of two gnrhs and two gths in vivo and in vitro. Effects of sex steroids on tac3 expression were further investigated. During the 17-methyltestosterone-induced sex change in the orange-spotted grouper, hypothalamic tac3 expression showed no significant change. Interestingly, ovariectomy greatly stimulated tac3 expression, while the 17β-estradiol treatment reversed this effect. In general, our data highly indicated that NKB signaling could activate the reproductive axis in the orange-spotted grouper. Our study is the first description of the NKB signaling in the hermaphroditic species.
General and Comparative Endocrinology – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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