Brain grafts reverse hypogonadism of gonadotropin releasing hormone deficiency

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Abstract

Hypogonadism in the mutant hpg mouse is characterized by a deficiency of hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)1. Affected male mice exhibit immature reproductive organs, small abdominal testes and low pituitary and plasma gonadotropin concentrations. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of fetal brain transplants to establish functional connections with host tissues2. We therefore sought to use this approach to correct the hpg deficit. Fetal preoptic area (POA) (a site of GnRH production) from unaffected animals of the hpg strain was transplanted into the anterior third ventricle of adult hpg mice. We report that in such implanted animals, killed 2 months post-implantation, the POA grafts contained GnRH neurones, from which GnRH-positive fibres could be traced to capillaries of the median eminence. Hypothalamic GnRH and pituitary and plasma gonadotropin concentrations were increased compared with levels in untreated (hpg) animals. The testes were enlarged and had descended into the scrotum. Evidence of full spermatogenesis and interstitial cell development was present in testicular sections. No such effects were seen with transplants of cortical tissue.

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Krieger, D., Perlow, M., Gibson, M. et al. Brain grafts reverse hypogonadism of gonadotropin releasing hormone deficiency. Nature 298, 468–471 (1982) doi:10.1038/298468a0

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