Circadian and Metabolic Influences on the Reproductive Axis
Reproduction is a hazardous and costly endeavor for female mammals. A classic evolutionary trade-off is created by the need to balance self-survival with the risks associated with reproduction. To maximize reproductive success and minimize risks, a myriad of cues are integrated by the reproductive neurocircuitry of the hypothalamus. The following studies investigate how cues from the circadian system, sex steroid hormones, and energy sensing systems impact reproductive physiology and behavior. These studies place particular emphasis on the RF-amide-related peptides, kisspeptin and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone. These neuron populations lie upstream of the gonadotropin releasing hormone system and are ideally situated to integrate information about time of day, cycle timing, and metabolic status. This feedback fine-tunes reproductive physiology and behavior to optimize reproductive success.