What is Kisspeptin?
Kisspeptin, made in the hypothalamus, is an important hormone that starts the release of several other hormones. Also called metastin, this interesting hormone is connected to puberty and may also help stop the spread of cancer.
What does kisspeptin do?
Kisspeptin enters into receptor sites in the pituitary gland, starting a reaction that causes the gland to release neurotransmitters. Those neurotransmitters then signal the release of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. These hormones have a role to play in the production of testosterone and oestradiol. Without kisspeptin, this entire chain reaction would be damaged.
Kisspeptin has a secondary function that is not related to hormones. Its original name, metastin, points to its ability to prevent the spread of cancer in the body.
Kisspeptin is released in conjunction with two other hormones: dynorphin and neurokinin B. These two hormones are not understood well, but early research indicates they may have a role in causing the release of kisspeptin.
Potential problems with kisspeptin levels
Having high levels of kisspeptin is not related to any conditions or symptoms, although preliminary research indicates that high kisspeptin levels in childhood can lead to early puberty, but this has not yet been proven. Research has also found that women have high levels of kisspeptin in their blood streams during pregnancy, but why this occurs is not yet understood.
Improper kisspeptin function or low kisspeptin levels, however, can cause problems. Specifically, inadequate function of this hormone can cause infertility by preventing menstruation in women. Sometimes, just one injection of kisspeptin can trigger ovulation, which can allow for artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization using the woman's eggs.
In adolescents, low kisspeptin levels or poor kisspeptin signaling can delay or prevent the onset of puberty. Other problems connected to high or low kisspeptin levels are still being discovered and researched.
Questions to ask your doctor
If you are struggling with fertility, kisspeptins may be one of the reasons. Talk to your doctor about your kisspeptin levels, and learn whether kisspeptin treatment could potentially help.
Outside of fertility, the effects of kisspeptin are not yet well-known. If you have questions or concerns about this particular hormone, talk to a qualified endocrinologist. If you do not have an endocrinologist, find one today to better understand kisspeptin, its role in the body and how it affects your hormonal health.