Patterns of gonadotropia output were studied in normal individuals and in patients with menstrual dysfunction by radioimmunoassay measurement of LH and FSH output in samples taken every 20 minutes for 6–8 hours, and following administration of synthetic luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LRH). Follicular phase LH pulses occurred every 1–2 hours, whereas those in the luteal phase occurred less frequently and with higher amplitude. FSH output was irregular, and had no correlation with LH dynamics. In anorexia nervosa, pulsatile LH activity was minimal, and the response to LRH variable, correlating somewhat with the clinical status of the patient. Pulsatile LH activity was observed in patients with postpill and postpartum amenorrhea, and also in one individual with a probable prolactin-producing pituitary tumor. Patients with polycystic ovarian disease had obvious LH pulsatile activity, with a greater amplitude and frequency than seen in the luteal phase, and a decrease in percentage increment, suggesting some difference in the hypothalamic-pituitary control mechanisms under these conditions. The character and pattern of the LH pulsatile activity does vary with different forms of menstrual dysfunction and may be predictive of the LRH response when considered in relation to the LH baseline values. Pulsatile LH activity, analyzed in conjunction with response patterns following LRH stimulation, may reflect the degree of hypothalamic dysfunction.
© 1976 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists