Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

Chapter 2 - Endocrine Control of Reproduction

Summary

Synchrony is essential for gametogenesis and correct embryo development, and a basic knowledge of reproductive endocrinology is fundamental to understanding synchrony in reproductive physiology. Although sexual arousal, erection and ejaculation in the male are obviously under cerebral control, it is less obvious that the ovarian and testicular cycles are also coordinated by the brain. For many years after the discovery of the gonadotropic hormones follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), the anterior pituitary gland was considered to be an autonomous organ, until animal experiments in which lesions were induced in the hypothalamus clearly demonstrated that reproductive processes were mediated by the nervous system. The hypothalamus is a small inconspicuous part of the brain lying between the midbrain and the forebrain; unlike any other region of the brain, it not only receives sensory inputs from almost every other part of the central nervous system (CNS), but also sends nervous impulses to several endocrine glands and to pathways governing the activity of skeletal muscle, the heart and smooth muscle (Figure 2.1). Via a sophisticated network of neural signals and hormone release, the hypothalamus controls sexual cycles, growth, pregnancy, lactation and a wide range of other basic and emotional reactions. Each hypothalamic function is associated with one or more small areas that consist of aggregations of neurons called hypothalamic nuclei. In the context of reproduction, several groups of hypothalamic nuclei are connected to the underlying pituitary gland by neural and vascular connections.

Allahbadia, GN, Morimoto, Y (2016) Ovarian Stimulation Protocols. Springer, India.
Austin, CT, Short, RV (1972) Reproduction in Mammals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Balen, A (2014) Infertility in Practice. Informa Healthcare, London.
Carr, BR, Blackwell, RE, Azziz, R (2005) Essential Reproductive Medicine. McGraw Hill, New York.
Johnson, MH (2018) Essential Reproduction, 8th edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
Ben-Meir, A, Burstein, E, Borrego-Alvarez, A, et al. (2015) Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell 14: 887895.
Bourgain, C, Devroey, P (2003) The endometrium in stimulated cycles for IVF. Human Reproduction Update 9(6): 515522.
Brinsden, P (2005) Superovulation strategies in assisted conception. In: Brinsden, P (ed.) A Textbook of In Vitro Fertilization and Assisted Reproduction, 3rd edn. Taylor-Francis, London, pp. 177188.
Broer, SL, Dólleman, M, Opmeer, BC, et al. (2011) AMH and AFC as predictors of excessive response in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation: a meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update 17(1): 4654.
Cai, J, Lou, H-Y, Dong, M-Y, et al. (2007) Poor ovarian response to gonadotropin stimulation is associated with low expression of follicle-stimulating hormone receptor in granulosa cells. Fertility and Sterility 87(6): 13501356.
Cargill, M, Altshuler, D, Ireland, J, et al. (1999) Characterization of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in coding regions of human genes. Nature Genetics 22: 231238.
Chang, EM, Song, HS, Lee, DR, et al. (2014) In vitro maturation of human oocytes: its role in infertility treatment and new possibilities. Clinical Experiments in Reproductive Medicine 41(2): 4146.
Chian, RC, Cao, YX (2014) In vitro maturation of immature human oocytes for clinical application. Methods in Molecular Biology 1154: 271288.
Conway, GS (1996) Clinical manifestations of genetic defects affecting gonadotrophins and their receptors. Clinical Endocrinology 45: 657663.
Cortvrindt, R, Smitz, J, Van Steirteghem, AC (1997) Assessment of the need for follicle stimulating hormone in early preantral mouse follicle culture in vitro. Human Reproduction 12: 759768.
Desai, AS, Achrekar, AK, Paranjape, SR, et al. (2013) Association of allelic combinations of FSHR gene polymorphisms with ovarian response. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 27: 400406.
Devroey, P, Boostanfar, R, Koper, NP, Mannaerts, BM, Ijzerman-Boon, PC, Fauser, BC (2009) A double-blind, non-inferiority RCT comparing corifollitropin alfa and recombinant FSH during the first seven days of ovarian stimulation using a GnRH antagonist protocol. Human Reproduction 24: 30633072.
Durlinger, AL, Gruijters, MJ, Kramer, P, et al. (2001) Anti-Müllerian hormone attenuates the effects of FSH on follicle development in the mouse ovary. Endocrinology 142: 48914899.
Fanchin, R, Louafi, N, Mendez Lozano, DH, Frydman, N, Frydman, R, Taieb, J (2005) Per-follicle measurements indicate that anti-mullerian hormone secretion is modulated by the extent of follicular development and luteinization and may reflect qualitatively the ovarian follicular status. Fertility and Sterility 84: 167173.
Fowler, RE, Edwards, RG (1957) Induction of superovulation and pregnancy in mature mice by gonadotrophins. Journal of Endocrinology 15: 374384.
Hillier, SG (1991) Regulatory functions for inhibin and activin in human ovaries. Journal of Endocrinology 131: 171175.
Hillier, SG (2009) The science of ovarian ageing: How might knowledge be translated into practice? In: Bewley, S, Ledger, W, Nikolaou, D (eds.) Reproductive Ageing. RCOG Press, London, pp. 7587.
Howles, CM, Macnamee, MC, Edwards, RG (1987) Follicular development and early luteal function of conception and non-conceptual cycles after human in vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction 2: 1721.
Howles, CM, Macnamee, MC, Edwards, RG, Goswamy, R, Steptoe, PC (1986) Effect of high tonic levels of luteinizing hormone on outcome of in vitro fertilization. Lancet 2: 521522.
Kevenaar, ME, Themmen, AP, Laven, JS, et al. (2007) Anti-Müllerian hormone and anti-Müllerian hormone type II receptor polymorphisms are associated with follicular phase estradiol levels in normo-ovulatory women. Human Reproduction 22: 15471554.
Kumar, TR, Wang, Y, Lu, N, Matzuk, MM (1997) Follicle stimulating hormone is required for ovarian follicle maturation but not male fertility. Nature Genetics 15: 201203.
La Marca, A, De Leo, V, Giulini, S, et al. (2005) Anti-Mullerian hormone in premenopausal women and after spontaneous or surgically induced menopause. Journal of the Society for Gynecological Investigation 12(7): 545548.
La Marca, A, Malmusi, S, Giulini, S, et al. (2004) Anti-Mullerian hormone plasma levels in spontaneous menstrual cycle and during treatment with FSH to induce ovulation. Human Reproduction 19(12): 27382741.
La Marca, A, Sighinolfi, G, Radi, D, et al. (2010) Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) as a predictive marker in assisted reproductive technology. Human Reproduction Update 16(2): 113130.
La Marca, A, Stabile, G, Artenisio, AC, Volpe, A (2006) Serum anti-Müllerian hormone throughout the human menstrual cycle. Human Reproduction 21: 31033107.
Lamminen, T, Huhtaniemi, I (2001) A common genetic variant of luteinizing hormone: relation to normal and aberrant pituitary-gonadal function. European Journal of Pharmacology 414: 17.
Loumaye, E, Engrand, P, Howles, CM, O’Dea, L (1997) Assessment of the role of serum luteinizing hormone and estradiol response to follicle-stimulating hormone on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertility and Sterility 67: 889899.
Macnamee, MC, Howles, CM, Edwards, RG, et al. (1989) Short term luteinising hormone agonist treatment: prospective trial of a novel ovarian stimulation regimen for in vitro fertilisation. Fertility and Sterility 52: 264269.
Nilsson, E, Rogers, N, Skinner, MK (2007) Actions of anti-Mullerian hormone on the ovarian transcriptome to inhibit primordial to primary follicle transition. Reproduction 134(2): 209221.
Oudshoom, SC, van Tilborg, TC, Eijkemans, MJC, et al. (2017) Individualized versus standard FSH dosing in women starting IVF/ICSI: an RCT. Part 2: The predicted hyper responder. Human Reproduction 32(12): 25062514.
Perez-Mayorga, M, Gromoll, J, Behre, HM, et al. (2000). Ovarian response to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulation depends on the FSH receptor genotype. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 85(9): 33653369.
Pigny, P, Jonard, S, Robert, Y, Dewailly, D (2006) Serum Anti-Müllerian Hormone as a surrogate for antral follicle count for definition of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 91: 941945.
Regan, L, Owen, EJ, Jacobs, HS (1990) Hypersecretion of luteinising hormone, infertility, and miscarriage. Lancet 336: 11411144.
Shenfield, F (1996) FSH: what is its role in infertility treatments, and particularly in IVF? Medical Dialogue 471: 14.
Silvestris, E, Cohen, M, Cornet, D, et al. (2017) Supporting the One-Carbon Cycle restores ovarian reserve in subfertile women: absence of correlation with urinary Bisphenol A concentration. BioResearch Open Access 6(1). DOI: 10.1089/biores.2017.0016.
Simoni, M, Nieschlag, E, Gromoll, J (2002) Isoforms and single nucleotide polymorphisms of the FSH receptor gene: implications for human reproduction. Human Reproduction Update 8(5): 413421.
Steiner, AZ, Pritchard, D, Stanczyk, FZ, et al. (2017) Association between biomarkers of ovarian reserve and infertility among older women of reproductive age. Journal of the American Medical Association 318(14): 13671376.
Su, HI, Sammel, MD, Freeman, EW, et al. (2008) Body size affects measures of ovarian reserve in late reproductive age women. Menopause 15: 857861.
Tavaniotou, A, Smitz, J, Bourgain, C, Devroey, P (2001) Ovulation induction disrupts luteal phase function. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 943: 5563.
Telfer, EE (1996) The development of methods for isolation and culture of preantral follicles from bovine and porcine ovaries. Theriogenology 45: 101110.
Tohlob, D, Hshem, EA, Gharreb, N, et al. (2016) Association of a promoter polymorphism in FSHR with ovarian reserve and response to ovarian stimulation in women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 33: 391397.
Tournaye, H, Sukhikh, GT, Kahler, E, Griesinger, G (2017) A Phase III randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy, safety and tolerability of oral dydrogesterone versus micronized vaginal progesterone for luteal support in in vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction 32(5): 10191027.
Ulug, U, Ben-Shlomo, I, Turan, E, Erden, HF, Akman, MA, Bahceci, M (2003) Conception rates following assisted reproduction in poor responder patients: a retrospective study in 300 consecutive cycles. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 6: 439443.
Visser, JA, Themmen, AP (2005) Anti-Müllerian hormone and folliculogenesis. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 234: 8186.
Webber, LJ, Stubbs, S, Stark, J, et al. (2003) Formation and early development of follicles in the polycystic ovary. Lancet 362: 10171021.
Weenen, C, Laven, JS, Von Bergh, AR, et al. (2004) Anti-Mullerian hormone expression pattern in the human ovary: potential implications for initial and cyclic follicle recruitment. Molecular Human Reproduction 10: 7783.
Wunder, DM, Bersinger, NA, Yared, M, Kretschmer, R, Birkhauser, MH (2008). Statistically significant changes of anti-mullerian hormone and inhibin levels during the physiologic menstrual cycle in reproductive age women. Fertility and Sterility 89: 927933.
Allahbadia, GN, Morimoto, Y (2016) Ovarian Stimulation Protocols. Springer, India.
Austin, CT, Short, RV (1972) Reproduction in Mammals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Balen, A (2014) Infertility in Practice. Informa Healthcare, London.
Carr, BR, Blackwell, RE, Azziz, R (2005) Essential Reproductive Medicine. McGraw Hill, New York.
Johnson, MH (2018) Essential Reproduction, 8th edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
Ben-Meir, A, Burstein, E, Borrego-Alvarez, A, et al. (2015) Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell 14: 887895.
Bourgain, C, Devroey, P (2003) The endometrium in stimulated cycles for IVF. Human Reproduction Update 9(6): 515522.
Brinsden, P (2005) Superovulation strategies in assisted conception. In: Brinsden, P (ed.) A Textbook of In Vitro Fertilization and Assisted Reproduction, 3rd edn. Taylor-Francis, London, pp. 177188.
Broer, SL, Dólleman, M, Opmeer, BC, et al. (2011) AMH and AFC as predictors of excessive response in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation: a meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update 17(1): 4654.
Cai, J, Lou, H-Y, Dong, M-Y, et al. (2007) Poor ovarian response to gonadotropin stimulation is associated with low expression of follicle-stimulating hormone receptor in granulosa cells. Fertility and Sterility 87(6): 13501356.
Cargill, M, Altshuler, D, Ireland, J, et al. (1999) Characterization of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in coding regions of human genes. Nature Genetics 22: 231238.
Chang, EM, Song, HS, Lee, DR, et al. (2014) In vitro maturation of human oocytes: its role in infertility treatment and new possibilities. Clinical Experiments in Reproductive Medicine 41(2): 4146.
Chian, RC, Cao, YX (2014) In vitro maturation of immature human oocytes for clinical application. Methods in Molecular Biology 1154: 271288.
Conway, GS (1996) Clinical manifestations of genetic defects affecting gonadotrophins and their receptors. Clinical Endocrinology 45: 657663.
Cortvrindt, R, Smitz, J, Van Steirteghem, AC (1997) Assessment of the need for follicle stimulating hormone in early preantral mouse follicle culture in vitro. Human Reproduction 12: 759768.
Desai, AS, Achrekar, AK, Paranjape, SR, et al. (2013) Association of allelic combinations of FSHR gene polymorphisms with ovarian response. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 27: 400406.
Devroey, P, Boostanfar, R, Koper, NP, Mannaerts, BM, Ijzerman-Boon, PC, Fauser, BC (2009) A double-blind, non-inferiority RCT comparing corifollitropin alfa and recombinant FSH during the first seven days of ovarian stimulation using a GnRH antagonist protocol. Human Reproduction 24: 30633072.
Durlinger, AL, Gruijters, MJ, Kramer, P, et al. (2001) Anti-Müllerian hormone attenuates the effects of FSH on follicle development in the mouse ovary. Endocrinology 142: 48914899.
Fanchin, R, Louafi, N, Mendez Lozano, DH, Frydman, N, Frydman, R, Taieb, J (2005) Per-follicle measurements indicate that anti-mullerian hormone secretion is modulated by the extent of follicular development and luteinization and may reflect qualitatively the ovarian follicular status. Fertility and Sterility 84: 167173.
Fowler, RE, Edwards, RG (1957) Induction of superovulation and pregnancy in mature mice by gonadotrophins. Journal of Endocrinology 15: 374384.
Hillier, SG (1991) Regulatory functions for inhibin and activin in human ovaries. Journal of Endocrinology 131: 171175.
Hillier, SG (2009) The science of ovarian ageing: How might knowledge be translated into practice? In: Bewley, S, Ledger, W, Nikolaou, D (eds.) Reproductive Ageing. RCOG Press, London, pp. 7587.
Howles, CM, Macnamee, MC, Edwards, RG (1987) Follicular development and early luteal function of conception and non-conceptual cycles after human in vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction 2: 1721.
Howles, CM, Macnamee, MC, Edwards, RG, Goswamy, R, Steptoe, PC (1986) Effect of high tonic levels of luteinizing hormone on outcome of in vitro fertilization. Lancet 2: 521522.
Kevenaar, ME, Themmen, AP, Laven, JS, et al. (2007) Anti-Müllerian hormone and anti-Müllerian hormone type II receptor polymorphisms are associated with follicular phase estradiol levels in normo-ovulatory women. Human Reproduction 22: 15471554.
Kumar, TR, Wang, Y, Lu, N, Matzuk, MM (1997) Follicle stimulating hormone is required for ovarian follicle maturation but not male fertility. Nature Genetics 15: 201203.
La Marca, A, De Leo, V, Giulini, S, et al. (2005) Anti-Mullerian hormone in premenopausal women and after spontaneous or surgically induced menopause. Journal of the Society for Gynecological Investigation 12(7): 545548.
La Marca, A, Malmusi, S, Giulini, S, et al. (2004) Anti-Mullerian hormone plasma levels in spontaneous menstrual cycle and during treatment with FSH to induce ovulation. Human Reproduction 19(12): 27382741.
La Marca, A, Sighinolfi, G, Radi, D, et al. (2010) Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) as a predictive marker in assisted reproductive technology. Human Reproduction Update 16(2): 113130.
La Marca, A, Stabile, G, Artenisio, AC, Volpe, A (2006) Serum anti-Müllerian hormone throughout the human menstrual cycle. Human Reproduction 21: 31033107.
Lamminen, T, Huhtaniemi, I (2001) A common genetic variant of luteinizing hormone: relation to normal and aberrant pituitary-gonadal function. European Journal of Pharmacology 414: 17.
Loumaye, E, Engrand, P, Howles, CM, O’Dea, L (1997) Assessment of the role of serum luteinizing hormone and estradiol response to follicle-stimulating hormone on in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertility and Sterility 67: 889899.
Macnamee, MC, Howles, CM, Edwards, RG, et al. (1989) Short term luteinising hormone agonist treatment: prospective trial of a novel ovarian stimulation regimen for in vitro fertilisation. Fertility and Sterility 52: 264269.
Nilsson, E, Rogers, N, Skinner, MK (2007) Actions of anti-Mullerian hormone on the ovarian transcriptome to inhibit primordial to primary follicle transition. Reproduction 134(2): 209221.
Oudshoom, SC, van Tilborg, TC, Eijkemans, MJC, et al. (2017) Individualized versus standard FSH dosing in women starting IVF/ICSI: an RCT. Part 2: The predicted hyper responder. Human Reproduction 32(12): 25062514.
Perez-Mayorga, M, Gromoll, J, Behre, HM, et al. (2000). Ovarian response to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulation depends on the FSH receptor genotype. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 85(9): 33653369.
Pigny, P, Jonard, S, Robert, Y, Dewailly, D (2006) Serum Anti-Müllerian Hormone as a surrogate for antral follicle count for definition of the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 91: 941945.
Regan, L, Owen, EJ, Jacobs, HS (1990) Hypersecretion of luteinising hormone, infertility, and miscarriage. Lancet 336: 11411144.
Shenfield, F (1996) FSH: what is its role in infertility treatments, and particularly in IVF? Medical Dialogue 471: 14.
Silvestris, E, Cohen, M, Cornet, D, et al. (2017) Supporting the One-Carbon Cycle restores ovarian reserve in subfertile women: absence of correlation with urinary Bisphenol A concentration. BioResearch Open Access 6(1). DOI: 10.1089/biores.2017.0016.
Simoni, M, Nieschlag, E, Gromoll, J (2002) Isoforms and single nucleotide polymorphisms of the FSH receptor gene: implications for human reproduction. Human Reproduction Update 8(5): 413421.
Steiner, AZ, Pritchard, D, Stanczyk, FZ, et al. (2017) Association between biomarkers of ovarian reserve and infertility among older women of reproductive age. Journal of the American Medical Association 318(14): 13671376.
Su, HI, Sammel, MD, Freeman, EW, et al. (2008) Body size affects measures of ovarian reserve in late reproductive age women. Menopause 15: 857861.
Tavaniotou, A, Smitz, J, Bourgain, C, Devroey, P (2001) Ovulation induction disrupts luteal phase function. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 943: 5563.
Telfer, EE (1996) The development of methods for isolation and culture of preantral follicles from bovine and porcine ovaries. Theriogenology 45: 101110.
Tohlob, D, Hshem, EA, Gharreb, N, et al. (2016) Association of a promoter polymorphism in FSHR with ovarian reserve and response to ovarian stimulation in women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 33: 391397.
Tournaye, H, Sukhikh, GT, Kahler, E, Griesinger, G (2017) A Phase III randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy, safety and tolerability of oral dydrogesterone versus micronized vaginal progesterone for luteal support in in vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction 32(5): 10191027.
Ulug, U, Ben-Shlomo, I, Turan, E, Erden, HF, Akman, MA, Bahceci, M (2003) Conception rates following assisted reproduction in poor responder patients: a retrospective study in 300 consecutive cycles. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 6: 439443.
Visser, JA, Themmen, AP (2005) Anti-Müllerian hormone and folliculogenesis. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 234: 8186.
Webber, LJ, Stubbs, S, Stark, J, et al. (2003) Formation and early development of follicles in the polycystic ovary. Lancet 362: 10171021.
Weenen, C, Laven, JS, Von Bergh, AR, et al. (2004) Anti-Mullerian hormone expression pattern in the human ovary: potential implications for initial and cyclic follicle recruitment. Molecular Human Reproduction 10: 7783.
Wunder, DM, Bersinger, NA, Yared, M, Kretschmer, R, Birkhauser, MH (2008). Statistically significant changes of anti-mullerian hormone and inhibin levels during the physiologic menstrual cycle in reproductive age women. Fertility and Sterility 89: 927933.