Endocrine glands typically signal their remote target tissues by an intermittent, rather than an invariant, pattern of hormone secretion. This pulsatile mode of hormone release is believed to convey significant information to the target cells. This review focuses on the luteinizing hormone pulse signal in man as a paradigm for endocrine glandular signaling in general. In particular, recent developments in our understanding of the pathophysiology of luteinizing hormone secretion in men and women is examined, and illustrate how specific disturbances in neuroendocrine physiology can result in altered reproductive states are illustrated. New models of pituitary-secretory dynamics that are likely to help clarify more subtle defects in fertility regulation in man and experimental animals are suggested.
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