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Contact: Robert Sanders
University of California - Berkeley

Hormones and the Reproductive System

Caption: In the reproductive system, the brain's hypothalamus produces GnRH, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce the peripheral hormones, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which in turn stimulate production of testosterone, estradiol and sexual behavior. Stress makes the adrenal gland produce glucocorticoids, which act directly on the hypothalamus to suppress GnRH production. UC Berkeley researchers have now found that glucocorticoids also boost hypothalamic GnIH production, which acts to reduce GnRH production as well as to directly lower pituitary secretion of sex hormones, thereby suppressing the entire reproductive system.

Credit: Elizabeth Kirby/UC Berkeley

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Related news release: Stress puts double whammy on reproductive system, fertility

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