RFamide-related peptide 3 and gonadotropin-releasing hormone-II are autocrine–paracrine regulators of testicular function in the boar

Clay A. Lents, Jennifer F. Thorson, Amy T. Desaulniers, Brett R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Widespread use of artificial insemination in swine requires millions of doses of boar semen each year. Subfertility of boars remains a major constraint, which can impact the reproductive efficiency of thousands of sows, so a better understanding of testicular function is needed in order to develop methods to improve semen production. With this in mind, the effects of RFamide-related peptide 3 (RFRP3) and Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-II (GnRH-II) on gonadotropin secretion and testicular function of pigs are reviewed here. Receptors for RFRP3 are present in the pig hypothalamus, adenohypophysis, and testis. Evidence from in vitro studies indicates that RFRP3 could be a hypophysiotropic hormone in the pig by suppressing secretion of GnRH-I from the hypothalamus and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland; however, effects of RFRP3 on in vivo secretion of LH in pigs are minimal. Within the pig testis, RFRP3 suppresses testosterone secretion by inhibiting steroidogenic enzymes. GnRH-II and its receptor (GnRHR-II) are abundant in pig testes. Interstitial cells express GnRHR-II, and exogenous GnRH-II robustly stimulates secretion of testosterone in boars, despite minimal secretion of LH. Data illustrate that GnRH-II directly stimulates secretion of testosterone from the testes of mature boars. Thus, the primary function of RFRP3 and GnRH-II in the boar appears to be autocrine–paracrine inhibition and stimulation, respectively, of testosterone secretion within the testis. A better understanding of changes in the RFRP3 and GnRH-II systems within the testis during development will provide important clues about how to improve the testicular function of boars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-1003
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • GnRH-II
  • RFamide peptides
  • pig
  • testes
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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