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Endocr Rev. 2008 Dec;29(7):823-64. doi: 10.1210/er.2008-0005. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

Motivations and methods for analyzing pulsatile hormone secretion.

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  • 1Endocrine Research Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Medical School, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Center for Translational Science Activities, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Endocrine glands communicate with remote target cells via a mixture of continuous and intermittent signal exchange. Continuous signaling allows slowly varying control, whereas intermittency permits large rapid adjustments. The control systems that mediate such homeostatic corrections operate in a species-, gender-, age-, and context-selective fashion. Significant progress has been made in understanding mechanisms of adaptive interglandular signaling in vivo. Principal goals are to understand the physiological origins, significance, and mechanisms of pulsatile hormone secretion. Key analytical issues are: 1) to quantify the number, size, shape, and uniformity of pulses, nonpulsatile (basal) secretion, and elimination kinetics; 2) to evaluate regulation of the axis as a whole; and 3) to reconstruct dose-response interactions without disrupting hormone connections. This review will focus on the motivations driving and the methodologies used for such analyses.

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