Involvement of kisspeptin in androgen-induced hypothalamic endoplasmic reticulum stress and its rescuing effect in PCOS rats

Chun Yuan, Wen Qing Huang, Jing Hui Guo, Xing Yan Liu, Jian Zhi Yang, Jun Jiang Chen, Yong Wu, Ye Chun Ruan, Jia Yin Liu, Yu Gui Cui, Fei Yang Diao, Hsiao Chang Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, with adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR), is a key link between obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, all of which are often present in the most common endocrine-metabolic disorder in women of reproductive age, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized with hyperandrogenism. However, the link between excess androgen and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/insulin resistance in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is unknown. An unexpected role of kisspeptin was reported in the regulation of UPR pathways and its involvement in the androgen-induced ER stress in hypothalamic neuronal cells. To evaluate the relationship of kisspeptin and ER stress, we detected kisspeptin and other factors in blood plasm of PCOS patients, rat models and hypothalamic neuronal cells. We detected higher testosterone and lower kisspeptin levels in the plasma of PCOS than that in non-PCOS women. We established a PCOS rat model by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) chronic exposure, and observed significantly downregulated kisspeptin expression and activated UPR pathways in PCOS rat hypothalamus compared to that in controls. Inhibition or knockdown of kisspeptin completely mimicked the enhancing effect of DHT on UPR pathways in a hypothalamic neuronal cell line, GT1–7. Kp10, the most potent peptide of kisspeptin, effectively reversed or suppressed the activated UPR pathways induced by DHT or thapsigargin, an ER stress activator, in GT1–7 cells, as well as in the hypothalamus in PCOS rats. Similarly, kisspeptin attenuated thapsigargin-induced Ca2+ response and the DHT- induced insulin resistance in GT1–7 cells. Collectively, the present study has revealed an unexpected protective role of kisspeptin against ER stress and insulin resistance in the hypothalamus and has provided a new treatment strategy targeting hypothalamic ER stress and insulin resistance with kisspeptin as a potential therapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number166242
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Androgen
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Insulin resistance
  • Kisspeptin
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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