Epigenetic modifications to the genome, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, occur in response to external stimuli. Reproductive function is highly sensitive to environmental conditions including season, diet, hormonal changes, and exposure to chemical contaminants. GnRH neurons, which play a key role in reproduction, are particularly sensitive to various environmental stimuli. We recently reported that the rhesus monkey GnRH gene exhibits distinct epigenetic changes during embryonic development. More recently, we further found that a similar epigenetic phenomenon occurs across puberty. In this article we highlight recent findings, including those of afferent inputs, to describe the epigenetic control of GnRH circuit development as a link between the environment and reproductive function.
Keywords: gonadotropin releasing hormone, kisspeptin, reproduction, puberty, neuroendocrine, epigenetic, histone, methylation
Citation: Kurian JR and Terasawa E (2013) Epigenetic control of gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons. Front. Endocrinol. 4:61. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2013.00061
Received: 12 April 2013; Accepted: 13 May 2013;
Published online: 27 May 2013.
Edited by:Pei-San Tsai, University of Colorado, USA
Reviewed by:Sergio R. Ojeda, Oregon Health & Science University, USA
Copyright: © 2013 Kurian and Terasawa. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Joseph R. Kurian, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1220 Capitol Ct, Madison, WI 53705, USA. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org