This chapter provides an overview of the physiological mechanisms integrating metabolism and reproduction. The reproductive system of some mammals is more sensitive than others to reductions in energy availability. Of the various factors that dictate an animal's sensitivity to energetic challenges, three are significant-sex, body size, and domestication. The reproductive function is influenced by short-term alterations in metabolic status. The rapidity with which the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis responds to an improved metabolic state is illustrated by multiple observations that pulsatile luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion commences or resumes within minutes to hours after food-restricted prepubertal or adult animals are given unlimited access to food. In addition to the metabolic factors, a variety of other hormones has been implicated in relaying metabolic cues to the neuroendocrine reproductive axis, including growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor I, and glucocorticoids. Based on their anatomical distribution pattern, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons appear to be ideally situated to directly detect metabolic fuels and hormones that enter the brain from the systemic circulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)