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Emergent Oscillations in Mathematical Model of the Human Menstrual Cycle

  • Natalie L. Rasgon, Lara Pumphrey, Paolo Prolo, Shana Elman, Andre B. Negrao, Julio Licinio and Alan Garfinkel...



The aim of this study was to develop a mathematical model of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis that would reflect available data in humans.


A model of hormonal relationships at the early follicular and midluteal phases of the human menstrual cycle is proposed.


Two distinct temporal patterns of oscillatory behavior have been demonstrated for both pituitary and gonadal steroids in the early follicular phase: first, rapid oscillations in gonadotropin releasing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone (Q∼1 hour) that were an immediate consequence of the programmed equations. Second, there were slower, undulating, emergent rhythms in luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, and also in estrogen, having oscillatory periods of 2–12 hours. There was also a longer-period (Q2–3 days) emergent rhythm in progesterone. In the mid-luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone rhythms were correlated, and all hormones showed an ∼6-hour periodicity.


To our knowledge, the oscillatory behavior of peripheral sex steroids in the follicular phase has not been previously noted.


Corresponding author

Please direct all correspondence to: Natalie L. Rasgon, MD, PhD, Stanford University, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, 401 Quarry Road, Room 2360, Palo Alto, CA 94305-5723; Tel: 650-724-6689; E-mail:


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