Induction of Stress Signaling In Vitroand Suppression of Gonadotropin Secretion by Free Fatty Acids in Female Mouse Gonadotropes

Song Li, Ekaette F. Mbong, Denise T. John, Tomohiro Terasaka, Danmei Li, Mark A. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


An emerging body of evidence supports the concept that the pituitary is a site for integration of multiple physiological and metabolic signals that inform and modulate endocrine pathways. Multiple endocrine mediators of energy balance and adiposity are known to impinge on the neuroendocrine axis regulating reproduction. Observations in humans show that obesity is correlated with decreased gonadotropin secretion, and studies have also suggested that pituitary sensitivity to stimulation by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is decreased in obese individuals. Free fatty acids are a potential mediator of adiposity and energy balance, but their impact as an endocrine modulator of pituitary function has not been closely examined. We evaluated the impact of free fatty acids on a pituitary gonadotrope cell line and in primary pituitary cultures of female mice. We show that increasing physiologically relevant doses of the monounsaturated v-9 fatty acid oleate induces cellular stress and increases production of reactive oxygen species in a mouse gonadotrope cell line. In contrast, the unsaturated v-3 a-linolenic and v-6 linoleic fatty acids do not have this effect. Additionally, oleate can activate immediate-early gene expression independent of GnRH stimulation but has a negative impact on GnRH induction and expression of the gonadotropin subunit gene Lhb. Further, oleate suppresses gonadotropin secretion in response to pulsatile stimulation by GnRH. These results indicate that free fatty acids can directly alter gonadotropin gene expression and secretion in response to GnRH and may provide a link between energy sensing and reproduction. (Endocrinology 159: 1074–1087, 2018)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1074-1087
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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