Pathophysiology of pulsatile and copulsatile release of thyroid-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and α-subunit

M. H. Samuels, Johannes D Veldhuis, P. Henry, E. C. Ridgway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Under physiological conditions, TSH, LH, FSH, and α-subunit are released in discrete pulses. To further characterize their neuroregulation and to investigate possible copulsatile secretion of these glycoprotein hormones, we studied the 24-h pulse profiles of all four hormones in each of four subject groups: young men, young women, postmenopausal women, and subjects with untreated primary hypothyroidism. Gonadotropin pulse properties in euthyroid men and women were similar to those previously reported, and hypothyroid subjects had normal gonadotropin pulse patterns. TSH release was pulsatile in all groups; hypothyroid subjects had increased pulse amplitude, but loss of the usual nocturnal increases in pulse amplitude, α-Subunit concentrations were pulsatile in all groups, with minimal circadian variation; postmenopausal and hypothyroid subjects had increased α-subunit pulse amplitude. We then tested pulse concordance among the four simultaneous hormone series. α-Subunit and the gonadotropins were significantly coreleased (triple coincidence), suggesting that all three hormones are closely linked to processes that regulate GnRH secretion. α-Subunit bursts were also significantly coincident with those of TSH in men, postmenopausal women, and hypothyroid subjects. Interestingly, TSH pulses were significantly concordant with those of LH and FSH, and all four hormones were significantly concordant in men, postmenopausal women, and hypothyroid subjects. In conclusion, the present findings imply that an underlying unified signal coordinates pulsatile hormone secretion from both gonadotrophs and thyrotrophs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-432
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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