Distribution of two molecular forms of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the central nervous system of the frogRana ridibunda

Françoise Collin, Nicolas Chartrel, Aldo Fasolo, J. Michael Conlon, Frans Vandesande, Hubert Vaudry

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Two molecular forms of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) have been recently characterized in the brain of the frog Rana ridibunda i.e. mammalian GnRH (mGnRH) and chicken GnRH-II (cGnRH-II). Using highly specific antisera against each form of GnRH, we have investigated the distribution of these two neuropeptides in the frog brain by the indirect immunofluorescence and the peroxidase-antiperoxidase techniques. mGnRH-immunoreactive cell bodies were restricted to a well defined region corresponding to the septal-anterior preoptic area. mGnRH-containing fibers projected through the ventral diencephalon and ended in the median eminence. In contrast, cGnRH-II-immunoreactive structures were widely distributed in the frog brain. In the telencephalon cGnRH-II-positive elements formed a ventromedial column extending from the olfactory bulb to the septal area, a pathway which corresponds to the terminal nerve. A dense accumulation of eGnRH-II-immunoreactive cell bodies was also found in the septal-anterior preoptic area; these neurons sent processes towards the median eminence via the hypothalamus. Double immunostaining revealed that, in this area, mGnRH- and cGnRH-II-like immunoreactivity co-existed in the same neurons. In the mid-diencephalon, numerous cGnRH-II-immunoreactive perikarya were found, surrounding the third ventricle, in the posterior preoptic and infundibular areas. Many of these neurons sent processes towards the ventricular cavity. More caudally, a dense population of cGnRH-II-immunoreactive perikarya was also observed in the nucleus of the paraventricular organ and the posterior tubercle. Dorsally, the thalamus, the tegmentum, the tectum and the granular layer of the cerebellum were richly innervated by cGnRH-II-positive fibers. In the medulla oblongata, numerous cGnRH-II-immunoreactive perikarya were seen in several cranial nerve nuclei. Ventrally, a dense plexus of immunoreactive fibers projected rostrocaudally into the spinal cord. The occurrence of mGnRH- and cGnRH-II-like immunoreactivity in the septal-anterior preoptic area and the hypothalamo-pituitary pathway supports the view that both peptides act as hypophysiotropic neurohormones. The widespread distribution of cGnRH-II-immunoreactive elements in the central nervous system of the frog strongly suggests that this peptide may also exert neuromodulator and/or neurotransmitter activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Dec 1995


  • Amphibian
  • Brain
  • Hypophysiotropic hormone
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuropeptide
  • Reproduction


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