Human Growth pp 215-238 | Cite as

The Central Nervous System and the Onset of Puberty

  • Melvin M. Grumbach


The onset of puberty is a consequence of a complex sequence of maturational changes that are incompletely understood (Grumbach et al., 1974; Grumbach, 1975; Odell and Swerdloff, 1976). The development of secondary sex characteristics, the adolescent growth spurt, the attainment of fertility, and the psychosocial changes entrain from the maturation of the gonads and the increase in sex steroid secretion. Two independent but associated processes, controlled by different mechanisms but closely linked temporally, are involved in the increased secretion of sex steroids in the peripubertal and pubertal period. One has been designated “adrenarche,” the increase in adrenal androgen secretion (reviewed in Grumbach et al., 1978) which precedes by two years or so the second event, “gonadarche” or the pubertal activation of the hypothalamic—pituitary gonadotropin—gonadal apparatus (Grumbach et al., 1974). These two events and their role in puberty shall be considered separately.


Luteinizing Hormone Negative Feedback Mechanism Adrenal Androgen Gonadotropin Secretion Gonadal Dysgenesis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvin M. Grumbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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