Different dendritic domains of the GnRH neuron underlie the pulse and surge modes of GnRH secretion in female mice.
The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons exhibit pulse and surge modes of activity to control fertility. They also exhibit an unusual bipolar morphology comprised of a classical soma-proximal dendritic zone and an elongated secretory process that can operate as both a dendrite and an axon, termed a 'dendron'. We show using expansion microscopy that the highest density of synaptic inputs to a GnRH neuron exists at its distal dendron. In vivo, selective chemogenetic inhibition of the GnRH neuron distal dendron abolishes the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge and markedly dampens LH pulses. In contrast, inhibitory chemogenetic and optogenetic strategies targeting the GnRH neuron soma-proximal dendritic zone abolish the LH surge but have no effect upon LH pulsatility. These observations indicate that electrical activity at the soma-proximal dendrites of the GnRH neuron is only essential for the LH surge while the distal dendron represents an autonomous zone where synaptic integration drives pulsatile GnRH secretion.