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Neuroendocrine Mechanism of Puberty-Chapter 19

Elsevier Inc.
DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-12-375097-6.10019-8
  • Biology


Publisher Summary Physical and hormonal changes associated with puberty are well-defined signs of sexual maturation, and indicative of hypothalamo–pituitaryegonadal development versus mature adrenal function. Puberty is the transitional period between childhood and adulthood. During puberty, major hormonal, physical and behavioral changes take place to attain full reproductive capability. Prepubertal ovaries also actively release steroids, but do not appear to exhibit the same levels or periodicity of increased steroid secretion when compared to the testis. Many genes in the brain are turned on or turned off to establish a complex series of physiological events leading to puberty. Growth hormone (GH) is secreted episodically throughout life, and plays a major role in somatic growth. GH release is stimulated by GH-releasing hormone and inhibited by somatostatin. Circulating GH levels, especially the amplitude of GH secretory episodes, increase during puberty in both males and females. The steroid responsible for the stimulation of GH secretion in both sexes is estradiol, as androgens have been shown to stimulate GH secretion after conversion to estrogen via peripheral aromatization.

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