Chemogenetic Depletion of Hypophysiotropic GnRH Neurons Does Not Affect Fertility in Mature Female Zebrafish

Sakura Tanaka, Nilli Zmora, Berta Levavi-Sivan, Yonathan Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hypophysiotropic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and its neurons are crucial for vertebrate reproduction, primarily in regulating luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion and ovulation. However, in zebrafish, which lack GnRH1, and instead possess GnRH3 as the hypophysiotropic form, GnRH3 gene knockout did not affect reproduction. However, early-stage ablation of all GnRH3 neurons causes infertility in females, implicating GnRH3 neurons, rather than GnRH3 peptides in female reproduction. To determine the role of GnRH3 neurons in the reproduction of adult females, a Tg(gnrh3:Gal4ff; UAS:nfsb-mCherry) line was generated to facilitate a chemogenetic conditional ablation of GnRH3 neurons. Following ablation, there was a reduction of preoptic area GnRH3 neurons by an average of 85.3%, which was associated with reduced pituitary projections and gnrh3 mRNA levels. However, plasma LH levels were unaffected, and the ablated females displayed normal reproductive capacity. There was no correlation between the number of remaining GnRH3 neurons and reproductive performance. Though it is possible that the few remaining GnRH3 neurons can still induce an LH surge, our findings are consistent with the idea that GnRH and its neurons are likely dispensable for LH surge in zebrafish. Altogether, our results resurrected questions regarding the functional homology of the hypophysiotropic GnRH1 and GnRH3 in controlling ovulation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5596
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • GnRH
  • LH
  • fertility
  • ovulation
  • zebrafish

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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