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      Gonadotropin Secretion during Aging in Postmenopausal Women


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          Although chronological aging is known to result in reduced gonadotropin secretion in women, the precise mechanisms to account for this neuroendocrine manifestation are yet obscure. To evaluate the extent to which the pituitary and/or hypothalamus are involved in the process of aging, we aimed at characterizing the unstimulated and GnRH-stimulated gonadotropin secretion in postmenopausal women (PMW) of different ages. Accordingly, 9 younger PMW (mean age: 53.8 years) in their first and 9 older PMW (mean age: 80.3 years) in their 4th decade of life after natural onset of menopause were studied. In both groups, blood was collected at 10-min intervals for 10 h, while GnRH (25 µg i.v.) was administered 8 h after initiation of blood samplings. Compared to younger PMW, basal serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate were lower (p < 0.05) in older PMW, while estrogen (estradiol, estrone), androgen (testosterone, androstendione) and sex hormone binding globulin levels were similar. Lower (p < 0.01) mean LH levels composed of attenuated (p < 0.05) LH pulse amplitudes and pulse frequencies (as determined by the cluster pulse algorithm) were found in the 8-hour LH secretory profiles of older PMW. Furthermore, the FSH secretion of older PMW was characterized by lower (p < 0.01) mean FSH levels with lower (p < 0.05) FSH pulse amplitudes, but not pulse frequencies. The absolute peak concentrations attained and the total amount of LH and FSH released in response to GnRH stimulations were blunted (p < 0.001) in older PMW. Similarly, the percentual GnRH-stimulated LH and FSH increases over preceding unstimulated basal concentrations were greater (p < 0.01) in younger than in older PMW. These observations indicate that the gonadotropin secretion is reduced during advanced age in PMW. This attenuated serum gonadotropin pulsatility found in older PMW is presumably the consequence of reduced release of hypothalamic GnRH and of a decreased sensitivity of the pituitary gonadotroph.

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          Author and article information

          S. Karger AG
          07 April 2008
          : 54
          : 3
          : 211-218
          Departments of aObstetrics-Gynecology and bInternal Medicine, University of Ulm, FRG
          125878 Neuroendocrinology 1991;54:211–218
          © 1991 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          : 04 September 1990
          : 06 December 1990
          Page count
          Pages: 8
          Original Paper

          Endocrinology & Diabetes,Neurology,Nutrition & Dietetics,Sexual medicine,Internal medicine,Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine


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