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Gonadotropin secretion during aging in postmenopausal women

, : Gonadotropin secretion during aging in postmenopausal women. Neuroendocrinology 54(3): 211-218

Although chronological aging is known to result in reduced gonadotropin secretion in women, the precise mechanisms to account for this neuroendocrine manifestation are yet obscure. To evaluate the extent to which the pituitary and/or hypothalamus are involved in the process of aging, we aimed at characterizing the unstimulated and GnRH-stimulated gonadotropin secretion in postmenopausal women (PMW) of different ages. Accordingly, 9 younger PMW (mean age: 53.8 years) in their first and 9 older PMW (mean age: 80.3 years) in their 4th decade of life after natural onset of menopause were studied. In both groups, blood was collected at 10-min intervals for 10 h, while GnRH (25 .mu.g i.v.) was administered 8 h after initiation of blood samplings. Compared to younger PMW, basal serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate were lower (p < 0.05) in older PMW, while estrogen (estradiol, estrone), androgen (testosterone, androstendione) and sex hormone binding globulin levels were similar. Lower (p < 0.01) mean LH levels composed of attenuated (p < 0.05) LH pulse amplitudes and pulse frequencies (as determined by the cluster pulse algorithm) were found in the 8-hour LH secretory profiles of older PMW. Furthermore, the FSH secretion of older PMW was characterized by lower (p < 0.01) mean FSH levels with lower (p < 0.05) FSH pulse amplitudes, but not pulse frequencies. The absolute peak concentrations attained and the total amount of LH and FSH released in response to GnRH stimulations were blunted (p < 0.001) in older PMW. Similarly, the percentual GnRH-stimulated LH and FSH increases over preceding unstimulated basal concentrations were greater (p < 0.01) in younger than in older PMW. These observations indicate that the gonadotropin secretion is reduced during advanced age in PMW. This attenuated serum gonadotropin pulsatility found in older PMW is presumably the consequence of reduced release of hypothalamic GnRH and of a decreased sensitivity of the pituitary gonadotroph.


PMID: 1834956

DOI: 10.1159/000125878

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