Edward 0. Reiter University of Massachusetts, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts 01107 Melvin M Grumbach University of California, San Francisco, California Puberty is the transitional period between the juvenile state and adulthood during which the adolescent growth spurt occurs, secondary sexual characÂ teristics appear, fertility is achieved, and profound psychological changes take place. We propose that the events characterizing pubertal maturation of the reproductive endocrine system can be viewed as part of a continuum extending from sexual differentiation and the ontogeny of the hypothalamÂ ic-pituitary gonadotropin-gonadal system in the fetus to the attainment of full sexual maturation and fertility, and then ultimately to senescence (20, 21). Two independent processes, controlled by different mechanisms but closely linked temporally, are involved in the increase of sex steroid secreÂ tion in the peripubertal and pubertal periods. One process, adrenarche, involves the increase in adrenal androgen secretion, which precedes by about two years the second event, gonadarche, the activation of the hypoÂ thalamic-pituitary gonadotropin-gonadal apparatus that had been active at a low level during childhood. The regulatory systems that control human male and female reproducÂ tion comprise the following fundamental components: The arcuate nucleus of the medial basal hypothalamus and its transducer
Annual Review of Physiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Mar 1, 1982
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