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J Endocrinol. 2001 Jan;168(1):1-23.

Growth hormone: roles in female reproduction.

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Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec J1M 1Z7, Canada.


GH, as its name suggests, is obligatory for growth and development. It is, however, also involved in the processes of sexual differentiation and pubertal maturation and it participates in gonadal steroidogenesis, gametogenesis and ovulation. It also has additional roles in pregnancy and lactation. These actions may reflect direct endocrine actions of pituitary GH or be mediated by its induction of hepatic or local IGF-I production. However, as GH is also produced in gonadal, placental and mammary tissues, it may act in paracrine or autocrine ways to regulate local processes that are strategically regulated by pituitary GH. The concept that GH is an important modulator of female reproduction is the focus of this review.

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