Using recently defined analytical tools that permit quantitative and integrated assessments of pulsatile activities of two or more hormones, we have examined the coincidence of pulses of estradiol (E2), progesterone (P4), and LH determined in blood withdrawn at 15-min sampling intervals for a duration of 24 h in each of 15 women during the midluteal phase of the human menstrual cycle. The occurrence of E2 and P4 pulses is simultaneous, as their peaks were maximally correlated at zero time lag (P < 10−4), and there were comparable periodicities for E2 (13.5 ± 0.7 pulses/24 h) and P4 (11.2 ± 0.7 pulses/24 h). This coupling of E2 and P4 pulses suggests cosecretion by the mature corpus luteum. These E2 and P4 pulses are significantly coupled with LH pulses, with a lag time of about 30 min and/or 45 min for P4 (P = 0.029) and 0 min and/or 15 min for E2 (P = 0.032). Further, when considered together, LH, E2, and P4 are found to be triply copulsatile (P = 0.0066). However, significant numbers of discrete pulses of P4 and E2 are observed without antecedent LH pulses, suggesting some degree of corpus luteum autonomy. In conclusion, orchestrated synchrony of pulsatile pituitary and ovarian (corpus luteum) signaling can be demonstrated by the coordinated temporal release of LH, E2, and P4 in normal cycling women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical