We have investigated the role of neuroendocrine and neurochemical changes in the age-related deterioration of cyclic female reproductive function. During middle age the timing and amplitude of the proestrous and estradiol-induced LH surge is altered. We have found that the diurnal pattern of norepinephrine turnover is altered in critical hypothalamic areas known to regulate the release of LHRH. These changes may contribute to alterations in the timing and the amplitude of LH release, which may, in turn, affect the ability of rats to maintain regular estrous cycles.
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