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Recent in vitro studies have provided evidence that cocaine and amphetamine-related transcript (CART) pathways in the hypothalamus mediate the effects of leptin upon gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. The aim of the current study was to use dual label immunofluorescence to investigate the anatomical basis of such a pathway. CART-ir processes were found extensively in regions where GnRH cell bodies where located. Analysis using confocal microscopy showed that the majority of GnRH neurons (62%) had close appositions from CART-ir processes. The proportion of GnRH-ir perikarya with CART-ir appositions was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in neurons located in the diagonal band of Broca (70%) compared to those more caudally located in the preoptic area (53%). This anatomical evidence for close appositions between CART-ir processes and GnRH cell bodies supports the hypothesis that one mechanism by which leptin causes its effect on the GnRH pulse generator is indirectly via CART neurons, thus allowing information about nutritional status and body fat stores to be conveyed to the reproductive system. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Neuroscience Letters

Publication Date





111 - 114