The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is critically involved in the generation and entrainment of circadian rhythms in mammalian species. Both the occurrence and the timing of the luteinizing hormone surge on the afternoon of proestrus in the female rodent are critically dependent on the integrity of the SCN. Recently, we demonstrated the presence of a monosynaptic pathway from the SCN to the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the preoptic area. In addition, we found that interaction between the SCN and the GnRH system may be found close to the SCN, since we observed apposition of SCN efferents and GnRH fibers at the ultrastructural level in that region. The aim of the present study was to investigate the presence of synaptic contacts between GnRH fibers and structures in the SCN and surrounding perichiasmatic area (periSCN). At the light microscopical level, the immunoreactivity for GnRH showed a considerable overlap with the immunoreactivity for vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal peptide, two neuropeptides synthesized by SCN neurons. At the ultrastructural level, we demonstrated synaptic input of GnRH-containing axons on immunocytochemically unidentified structures in the SCN/peri-SCN region. The present results clearly demonstrate that the SCN and periSCN are postsynaptic targets of GnRH fibers. It is hypothesized that the GnRH input in the SCN region represents an anatomical substrate for feedback-control between these systems.
van der Beek, E. M., Wiegant, V. M., van Oudheusden, H. J. C., van der Donk, H. A., den Hurk, R., & Buijs, R. M. (1997). Synaptic contacts between Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-containing fibres and neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and perichiasmatic area: an anatomical substrate for feedback regulation? Brain Research, 755, 101-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-8993(97)00086-3