This chapter discusses the modulatory influences regulating the timing of puberty in rats. The developmental process that leads to puberty in the female rat is based on an extraordinarily complex series of interrelated events. The central nervous system (CNS) plays a critical role by controlling both anterior pituitary function, through the secretion of hypothalamic factors, and the ovary via pituitary hormones and direct neural inputs. The central neuroendocrine regulation of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) production and gonadotropin secretion initiates the onset of puberty in rats through LH actions on the Leydig cells to increase androgen production and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) actions on the Sertoli cell to enhance Leydig cell function and initiate Sertoli cell differentiation needed for the induction of spermatogenesis. The negative feedback of androgens and inhibin regulate gonadotropin production during the progression of puberty to the adult stage. The coordinated control of this hypothalamic-pituitary axis with the testis involves molecular events at the LHRH neuron and pituitary levels and at the testis somatic cell level. The resulting endocrine events control the onset and progression of puberty in the rat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology