Distribution and morphology of immunoreactive gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the basal forebrain of ponies

P. A. Melrose, C. Pickel, H. S. Cheramie, W. G. Henk, M. A. Littlefield‐Chabaud, D. D. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent reports have indicated that analysis of changes in the staining characteristics of gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons and characterization of morphological plasticity of the related structural framework may help to elucidate the physiological mechanisms involved in neuroendocrine control of mammalian reproduction. Whether comparative studies will facilitate this process or simply elucidate species‐specific mechanisms is not yet clear. The present study was performed in order to begin analysis of GnRH neurons in a seasonally breeding species that exhibits an unusually long ovulatory luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. To this end, light microscopy and image analysis were used to characterize distribution and morphology of GnRH neurons in 15 adult male and female ponies. Samples were collected in the middle of the normal ovulatory season. Unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar GnRH neurons were organized in a loosely defined continuum that extended from the medial septum to tuberoinfundibular areas in the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). Most cells were bipolar, and the majority of neurons were located in the MBH. Fiber projections to the median eminence included presumptive pathways similar to those previously described in other species. Image analysis of cell size indicated that cells in the MBH were larger than those in preoptic areas and GnRH neurons in both of these locations were larger than neurons in rostral areas of the medial septum. Results from this experiment suggest that the large population of MBH GnRH neurons in the equine species is likely to be of primary importance to reproductive function, whereas cells in other areas are fewer and smaller. Further work is needed to characterize morphological characteristics that may be related to physiological fluctuations in reproductive function of the equine species. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-287
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 8 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • LH‐FSH‐releasing hormone
  • equine
  • immunocytohistochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Distribution and morphology of immunoreactive gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the basal forebrain of ponies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this