Table of Contents
Journal of Signal Transduction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 198527, 7 pages
Review Article

Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase (ERK) Activation and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatase 1 Induction by Pulsatile Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone in Pituitary Gonadotrophs

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Shimane University, Izumo 693-8501, Japan

Received 14 August 2011; Accepted 25 September 2011

Academic Editor: J. Adolfo García-Sáinz

Copyright © 2012 Haruhiko Kanasaki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The frequency of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) pulse secreted from the hypothalamus differently regulates the expressions of gonadotropin subunit genes, luteinizing hormone β (LHβ) and follicle-stimulating hormone β (FSHβ), in the pituitary gonadotrophs. FSHβ is preferentially stimulated at slower GnRH pulse frequencies, whereas LHβ is preferentially stimulated at more rapid pulse frequencies. Several signaling pathways are activated, including mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), protein kinase C, calcium influx, and calcium-calmodulin kinases, and these may be preferentially regulated under certain conditions. Previous studies demonstrated that MAPK pathways, especially the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), play an essential role for induction of gonadotropin subunit gene expression by GnRH, whereas, MAPK phosphatases (MKPs) inactivate MAPKs through dephosphorylation of threonine and/or tyrosine residues. MKPs are also induced by GnRH, and potential feedback regulation between MAPK signaling and MKPs within the GnRH signaling pathway is evident in gonadotrophs. In this paper, we reviewed and mainly focused on our observations of the pattern of ERK activation and the induction of MKP by different frequencies of GnRH stimulation.