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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1984 Feb;58(2):378-83.

Progesterone modulation of pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion in normal women.


Recent studies show that the frequency and amplitude of pulsatile LH secretion change during the normal human menstrual cycle; however, the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying these changes are poorly understood. To assess the role of progesterone (P) in regulating LH secretion patterns, we treated normal women (n = 5) with im P in oil during the follicular phase of their cycle and compared LH pulse frequency, amplitude, and mean plasma level during treatment to those in normal cycling women. Normal women were studied five times in five menstrual cycles. Each study lasted 24 h, with a sampling interval of 20 min. The cycle phases studied were early follicular (twice), late follicular (LF), midluteal, and LF with P therapy to simulate luteal phase plasma P levels. LH pulse frequency was slower (P less than or equal to 0.001) in the midluteal phase than in either the early follicular phase or LF, and furthermore, P, administered in the normal follicular phase, slowed LH pulse frequency, augmented pulse amplitude, and reduced mean plasma LH levels compared to those in untreated women studied at the same cycle phase (P less than or equal to 0.02). We infer that P secretion by the ovary mediates the change in the LH secretory pattern during the luteal phase of the normal menstrual cycle, and that at least part of this effect is mediated by the central nervous system.

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