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Methods for assessing the linkage between pulsatile hormone profiles.

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Reproductive Endocrine Unit, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland.


Although the different anterior pituitary hormones are generally considered to be regulated independently, examination of their patterns in blood suggests that pulsatile secretion of several of these hormones may be synchronized. Traditional methods of cross-correlation analysis may not be adequate for quantifying this linkage. Since some simultaneity may arise by chance, expected rates of random coincidences must also be estimated to determine if apparent concordance rates significantly exceed those due to chance. A method of estimating linkage by counting simultaneous and near-simultaneous events within temporal 'windows' of varying width is proposed and tested against 11 series of luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin measurements from normal men. Rates of concordance in series drawn from different subjects rather than the same subject, or series scrambled in time, do not contain meaningful simultaneous events and so can be used to estimate the rate of random synchrony. By these standards, a clear excess of concordant prolactin and luteinizing hormone (LH) peaks was observed in normal men, suggesting significant physiological synchrony between these pulses of secretion. This method can be applied to a variety of hormonal systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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