Gonadotropin surge-inhibiting/attenuating factors: A review of current evidence, potential applications, and future directions for research

Mario G. Vega, Shvetha M. Zarek, Medha Bhagwat, James H. Segars

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Animal studies in the 1980s suggested the existence of an ovarian hormone, termed gonadotropin surge-inhibiting/attenuating factor (GnSIF/AF), that modulates pituitary secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH). Given the importance of identifying regulatory factors of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and the accumulating data suggesting its existence, we conducted a comprehensive literature search using PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Embase to identify articles related to GnSIF/AF. The search generated 161 publications, of which 97 were included in this study. Several attempts have been made to identify and characterize this hormone and several candidates have been identified, but the protein sequences of these putative GnSIF/AF factors differ widely from one study to another. In addition, while the RF-amide RFRP-3 is known foremost as a neuropeptide, some research supports an ovarian origin for this non-steroidal hormone, thereby suggesting a role for RFRP-3 either as a co-modulator of GnSIF/AF or as a gonadotropin-inhibiting factor in the hypothalamus (GnIH). Discovery of the KNDy neurons that modulate GnRH secretion, on the other hand, further encourages the search for substance(s) that modulate their activity and that indirectly affect LH secretion and the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. While it has remained an elusive hormone, GnSIF/AF holds many potential applications for contraception, in vitro fertilization, and/or cancer as well as for understanding polycystic ovary syndrome, metabolic diseases, and/or pubertal development. In this review, we rigorously examine the available evidence regarding the existence of GnSIF/AF, previous attempts at its identification, limitations to its discovery, future directions of research, and potential clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular reproduction and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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