Puberty is the phase in life when individuals become capable of reproducing. During puberty, major hormonal, physical, and behavioral changes take place. Changes occurring through puberty are accompanied by psychological modifications that significantly affect the role of individual members in society. Because the factor(s) that trigger puberty remains as a great mystery of our time, in this chapter the authors have approached this question systematically by analyzing the maturation of each component of the reproductive endocrine system and, in great detail, the developmental changes that occur in neurons and glia of the hypothalamus during reproductive maturation. Highlights of the chapter include discussion of: (1) the possible genes responsible for the onset of puberty, (2) a potential role of kisspeptin and its receptor GPR54 in the hypothalamic control of puberty, and (3) the maturation of neocortical and limbic circuits that determine the establishment of adolescent behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas