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J Neuroendocrinol. 2009 Mar;21(4):327-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2009.01826.x.

Neurobiological mechanisms underlying oestradiol negative and positive feedback regulation of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone neurones.

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Department of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The feedback actions of ovarian oestradiol during the female reproductive cycle are among the most unique in physiology. During most of the cycle, oestradiol exerts homeostatic, negative feedback upon the release of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Upon exposure to sustained elevated oestradiol levels, however, there is a switch in the feedback effects of this hormone to positive, resulting in induction of a surge in the release of GnRH that serves as a neuroendocrine signal to initiate the ovulatory cascade. We review recent developments stemming from studies in an animal model exhibiting daily switches between positive and negative feedback that have probed the neurobiological mechanisms, including changes in neural networks and intrinsic properties of GnRH neurones, underlying this switch in oestradiol action.

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