Review Article| Volume 1, ISSUE 1, P3-12, 1988

Pubertal neuroendocrine maturation: Early differentiation and stages of development

  • Peter A. Lee
    Address reprint requests to: Peter A. Lee, M.D., Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, One Children's Place, 3705 Fifth Avenue at DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213, USA.
    Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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      The neuroendocrine maturation of the hypotha-lamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is described as a process which appears to be mature and functional in the fetus. There is dynamic activity during the neonatal period followed by a prolonged period of quiescence during childhood. Puberty then is a resurgence of a previously active process rather that the development of total new physiologic phenomena. Episodic release of gonadotropin releasing hormone and consequent episodic release of gonadotropins are an inherent part of this process. A variety of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other factors effect this episodic release. The driving force for the onset of pubertal gonadotropin secretion eminates from the CNS and involves much more that a readjustment of negative feedback setpoints. The dynamics of the fetal and neonatal period are key to overall differentiation. The period of relative quiescence of childhood is marked by diurnal differences in gonadotropin activity, dynamic changes of ovarian follicles, and growth of the ovaries.

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