Kisspeptin

Definition - What does Kisspeptin mean?

Kisspeptin is a protein released by the brain that stimulates the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which in turn triggers the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), the two key hormones that play a vital role in the female reproductive cycle. Abnormalities in the release of this protein can lead to altered gonadotrophin (FSH and LH) hormone levels leading to infertility. Kisspeptin is also important in the evaluation of infertility related to hormone abnormalities.

Kisspeptin is also called metastatin.

FertilitySmarts explains Kisspeptin

Kisspeptin acts as a neurotransmitter, which is a molecule that sends messages across nerve cells. Its presence activates the cells in the hypothalamus to release GnRH, the first step in a series of hormone production and release known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.

Defects in this hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis can lead to infertility. Since kisspeptin is a regulator of this hormonal axis, it can be used for evaluation of such patients to identify where exactly the problem is.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproduction in which a mature egg is harvested from the female ovary to be fertilized with a sperm outside the body. IVF requires the artificial maturation of eggs in the ovary while stopping them from being released or ovulated as would happen in a normal ovarian cycle. Kisspeptin achieves this by naturally increasing the levels of GnRH in the blood. Other agents used for this purpose can overstimulate the ovary giving rise to greatly enlarged ovaries known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Kisspeptin is less likely to cause OHSS and has proven to be more effective than those other agents.

Low levels of kisspeptin are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. A low level of kisspeptin levels upon measurement during pregnancy may indicate a higher chance experiencing a miscarriage. Studies are being carried out to see if giving this protein to these women can reduce the miscarriage risk.

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