Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron migration: initiation, maintenance and cessation as critical steps to ensure normal reproductive function.
GnRH neurons follow a carefully orchestrated journey from their birth in the olfactory placode area. Initially, they migrate along with the vomeronasal nerve into the brain at the cribriform plate, then progress caudally to sites within the hypothalamus where they halt and send projections to the median eminence to activate pituitary gonadotropes. Many factors controlling this precise journey have been elucidated by the silencing or over-expression of candidate genes in mouse models. Importantly, a number of these factors may not only play a role in normal physiology of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis but also be mis-expressed to cause human disorders of GnRH deficiency, presenting as a failure to undergo normal pubertal development. This review outlines the current cadre of candidates thought to modulate GnRH neuronal migration. The further elucidation and characterization of these factors that impact GnRH neuron development may shed new light on human reproductive disorders and provide potential targets to develop new pro-fertility or contraceptive agents. Published by Elsevier Inc.