Temporal pattern of LH secretion: Regulation by multiple ultradian oscillators versus a single circadian oscillator

H. Lewy, Y. Shub, Z. Naor, I. E. Ashkenazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The possibility that the 24h rhythm output is the composite expression of ultradian oscillators of varying periodicities was examined by assessing the effect of external continuously or pulsed (20-minute) Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) infusions on in vitro luteinizing hormone (LH) release patterns from female mouse pituitaries during 38h study spans. Applying stepwise analyses (spectral, cosine fit, best-fit curve, and peak detection analyses) revealed the waveform shape of LH release output patterns over time is composed of several ultradian oscillations of different periods. The results further substantiated previous observations indicating the pituitary functions as an autonomous clock. The GnRH oscillator functions as a pulse generator and amplitude regulator, but it is not the oscillator that drives the ultradian LH release rhythms. At different stages of the estrus cycle, the effect of GnRH on the expression of ultradian periodicities varies, resulting in the modification of their amplitudes but not their periods. The functional output from the system of ultradian oscillators may superimpose a "circadian or infradian phenotype" on the observed secretion pattern. An "amplitude control" hypothesis is proposed: The temporal pattern of LH release is governed by several oscillators that function in conjunction with one another and are regulated by an amplitude-controlled mechanism. Simulated models show that such a mechanism results in better adaptive response to environmental requirements than does a single circadian oscillator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Amplitude-controlled mechanisms of rhythmicity
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Pituitary clock
  • Ultradian oscillators


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