We have followed an arduous and often tortuous route to reach our current understanding of the physiological role of catecholamines (CAs) in the regulation of gonadotropin secretion. More often than not, the vast amounts of confusing literature on this subject have bewildered the novice and discouraged the faint of heart and, as such, research into the complexities of this system have waxed and waned over the 32 or more years since CAs first were implicated as regulators of gonadotropin secretion. Much of this confusion was due to: 1) lack of adequate methodology to measure CA secretion; 2) the use of complex and at times unusual experimental animal preparations and paradigms; 3) an inadequate understanding of the neuroanatomy of CA pathways in the brain; and 4) the use of many drugs which lack the specificity required to delineate the interplay that exists between CAs and the secretion of gonadotropic hormones. This is not to say that we now have deciphered the many complex central nervous system (CNS)-CA events that evoke preovulatory surges of LH, FSH, and PRL. Rather, we believe that we now are able to clarify some of the confusion which exists on how this neuroendocrine system functions, for with time, perseverance, and the hard work of many scientists, some of the essential functional components of this control system have been identified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism