The neonatal period: a critical interval in male primate development

in Journal of Endocrinology

Pituitary testicular function in the neonate

The early postnatal period of male primates (including humans) is associated with activation of the hypothalamicpituitary-testicular axis. Circulating levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) begin to rise in male infants during the second week of postnatal life, reach a peak between 2 and 4 months, and decline thereafter, reaching juvenile levels by 1 year of age (Forest 1990) (Fig. 1). Total testosterone levels rise commensurate with the increase in neonatal LH, reaching peak values that approach the low normal adult male range between 1 and 3 months of age, and then fall in concert with declining LH values to juvenile levels by 6 to 8 months of age (Forest 1990). Comparable patterns of neonatal endocrine changes have been reported in the chimpanzee, rhesus monkey, cynomolgus monkey, mangabey and marmoset (Steiner & Bremner 1981, Fuller et al. 1982, Mann et al. 1983,


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