Hypothalamic Control of the Menstrual Cycle
The relation between ovarian function and menstruation did not become clear nor widely accepted until the early twentieth century, and the details of this relation as currently understood are amply covered in other chapters in this volume. The next conceptual step forward in reproductive physiology came when it became evident that the ovary did not function autonomously, but depended upon the presence of the anterior pituitary gland. The concept of anterior pituitary ommipotence could not survive, however, in the face of the clever experimental designs of Harris (1955) who showed that ovulation in the rabbit could be induced by sensory signals arising in the periphery which were translated by the hypothalamus into hormonal signals from the pituitary gland. The isolation, characterization, and synthesis of the hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and a myriad of other hypothalamic hormones that regulate the secretion of other anterior pituitary hormones have added substance to the original theories of the hypothalamic control of pituitary function.
KeywordsMenstrual Cycle Rhesus Monkey Luteal Phase Gonadotropin Secretion Luteinizing Hormone Surge
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