Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Ph.D. Yokohama City University, Japan
Neuroendocrine Neurons in the Hypothalamus
Many types of neuroendocrine neurons in the hypothalamus release neuropeptides into the pituitary portal circulation in an oscillatory manner, which is essential for normal pituitary function. My research focuses on the study of one of these neurons–the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurosecretory system. The aims of current studies are: 1) to determine the mechanism of the onset of puberty, which requires an increase in GnRH pulse frequency; 2) to investigate the role of locally synthesized and released neuroestradiol in regulation of GnRH release; 3) to study the mechanism of ovarian steriod action on GnRH neurons, which modulate pulsatile GnRH release with different time domains, and 4) to generate GnRH neurons from stem cells and investigate the cellular mechanisms of pulsatile LHRH neurosecretion.
My research is being conducted on the rhesus monkey, as an important model for humans. I take a multidisciplinary approach to accomplishing the research aims, and use a variety of techniques including a microdialysis method to determine in vivo release of neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and neurosteriods; Ca2+ imaging in GnRH neurons; identification of neuroendocrine neurons with immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization; and assessment of quantitative neuronal gene expression and DNA methylation with various molecular biological approaches.
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