Octopus gonadotrophin-releasing hormone: A multifunctional peptide in the endocrine and nervous systems of the cephalopod

H. Minakata*, S. Shigeno, N. Kano, S. Haraguchi, T. Osugi, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    The optic gland, which is analogous to the anterior pituitary in the context of gonadal maturation, is found on the upper posterior edge of the optic tract of the octopus Octopus vulgaris. In mature octopus, the optic glands enlarge and secrete a gonadotrophic hormone. A peptide with structural features similar to that of vertebrate gonadotophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) was isolated from the brain of octopus and was named oct-GnRH. Oct-GnRH showed luteinising hormone-releasing activity in the anterior pituitary cells of the Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix. Oct-GnRH immunoreactive signals were observed in the glandular cells of the mature optic gland. Oct-GnRH stimulated the synthesis and release of sex steroids from the ovary and testis, and elicited contractions of the oviduct. Oct-GnRH receptor was expressed in the gonads and accessory organs, such as the oviduct and oviducal gland. These results suggest that oct-GnRH induces the gonadal maturation and oviposition by regulating sex steroidogenesis and a series of egg-laying behaviours via the oct-GnRH receptor. The distribution and expression of oct-GnRH in the central and peripheral nervous systems suggest that oct-GnRH acts as a multifunctional modulatory factor in feeding, memory processing, sensory, movement and autonomic functions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)322-326
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Cephalopod
    • GnRH
    • Neuromodulator
    • Neurotransmitter
    • Reproductive system
    • Steroidogenesis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Endocrinology
    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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