Biology » The Reproductive System » Hormonal Control of Human Reproduction

Summarizing Hormonal Control of Human Reproduction


The male and female reproductive cycles are controlled by hormones released from the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary as well as hormones from reproductive tissues and organs. The hypothalamus monitors the need for the FSH and LH hormones made and released from the anterior pituitary. FSH and LH affect reproductive structures to cause the formation of sperm and the preparation of eggs for release and possible fertilization.

In the male, FSH and LH stimulate Sertoli cells and interstitial cells of Leydig in the testes to facilitate sperm production. The Leydig cells produce testosterone, which also is responsible for the secondary sexual characteristics of males. In females, FSH and LH cause estrogen and progesterone to be produced. They regulate the female reproductive system which is divided into the ovarian cycle and the menstrual cycle. Menopause occurs when the ovaries lose their sensitivity to FSH and LH and the female reproductive cycles slow to a stop.



reproductive hormone in females that assists in endometrial regrowth, ovulation, and calcium absorption

follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

reproductive hormone that causes sperm production in men and follicle development in women

gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

hormone from the hypothalamus that causes the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary


hormone made by Sertoli cells; provides negative feedback to hypothalamus in control of FSH and GnRH release

interstitial cell of Leydig

cell in seminiferous tubules that makes testosterone

luteinizing hormone (LH)

reproductive hormone in both men and women, causes testosterone production in men and ovulation and lactation in women


loss of reproductive capacity in women due to decreased sensitivity of the ovaries to FSH and LH

menstrual cycle

cycle of the degradation and re-growth of the endometrium

ovarian cycle

cycle of preparation of egg for ovulation and the conversion of the follicle to the corpus luteum


release of the egg by the most mature follicle


reproductive hormone in women; assists in endometrial re-growth and inhibition of FSH and LH release

Sertoli cell

cell in seminiferous tubules that assists developing sperm and makes inhibin


reproductive hormone in men that assists in sperm production and promoting secondary sexual characteristics

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