BioScience Trends. 2022;16(5):346-358. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01358)

Epigenetic modification of Kiss1 gene expression in the AVPV is essential for female reproductive aging

Dai RX, Xu W, Chen W, Cui LY, Li LS, Zhou J, Jin XL, Wang Y, Wang L, Sun Y


Female reproductive senescence is heralded by hypothalamus region-specific changes in the transcription of genes such as Kiss1 under estradiol (E2) positive feedback, associated with luteinizing hormone (LH) surge dysfunction and reproductive decline. The current study explored whether the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) displayed epigenetic changes mediated by age-related dysregulation of gene expression and whether an epigenetic-based intervention could alleviate an aging-related neuroendocrine disorder. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) and ChIP-qPCR were used to assess the differential acetylation of histone H3 in the AVPV and the expression of genes in hormone-primed middle-aged rats. The association between acetylated histone H3 and Kiss1 expression and the underlying mechanisms of dysregulation were determined using pharmacological inhibitors and molecular experiments in vitro and in vivo. An AVPV gene expression program failed to initiate in middle-aged females displaying typical genomewide hypoacetylation of histone H3, and this coincided with decreased LH. Hypoacetylation of histone H3 at the 3' intergenic region of Kiss1 in particular was associated with enhanced chromatin looping between the promoter and enhancer. Restoration of physiological histone H3 acetylation by intracerebroventricular injection of trichostatin A (TSA) restored the expression of Kiss1 by modifying chromatin looping and led to the restoration of Kiss1 neuronal activation and Kiss1 synthesis as well as circulating LH. These findings have revealed novel epigenetic-associated changes in gene expression in female reproductive aging. These results also suggest that HDAC enzyme-based treatment is a potential therapeutic approach for insufficient preovulatory LH release in aging females.

KEYWORDS: aging, AVPV, estradiol, histone, acetylation, Kiss1

Full Text: