Novel aspects of the endocrinology of the menstrual cycle
Ovarian control of gonadotrophin secretion is normally achieved via the feedback mechanisms mediated by oestradiol and progesterone. Evidence has been provided that nonsteroidal substances, such as inhibin A and B, participate in the negative feedback control of FSH secretion. Another nonsteroidal ovarian substance is gonadotrophin surge-attenuating factor (GnSAF), the activity of which is particularly evident in women undergoing ovulation induction. Accumulating evidence has suggested that GnSAF plays a physiological role during the menstrual cycle. In particular, this factor antagonizes the sensitizing effect of oestradiol on the pituitary response to gonadotrophin-releasing hormone during the follicular phase of the cycle. A hypothesis has been developed that, in the late follicular phase, the activity of GnSAF is reduced and this facilitates the sensitizing effect of oestradiol on the pituitary, thus enforcing the massive discharge of gonadotrophins at the midcycle LH surge. The interaction of oestradiol, progesterone and GnSAF on the hypothalamic-pituitary system provides a novel approach to explain the mechanisms which control LH secretion during the normal menstrual cycle. (C) 2014, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.