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The changes in gonadotrophin secretion in childhood and puberty involve changes in the pulsatile pattern as well as mean concentration. We have examined pulsatile secretion using 24-h LH profiles in 78 children aged 4.2-15.6 years and six adult men. The profiles were analysed by a method which gives an estimate of peak and baseline levels and by spectral analysis. Prepubertal children were divided into groups by age and pubertal children by pubertal stage. Baseline LH levels in children aged 4.2-6.9 years were higher than in those aged 7.1-9.8 years. Pulse frequency in both groups was slow (periodicities 140-200 min). In the oldest prepubertal group there was an increase in peak levels with increased spectral power at periodicities of 100-120 min. Pulse frequency did not change in puberty (periodicity 120-160 min). Girls demonstrated an increase in both peak and baseline LH concentrations in early puberty. Boys had an increase in only peak levels in early puberty; there was no increase in baseline concentrations until a testicular volume of 10 ml was attained. In conclusion, these data show that LH levels do not reach a nadir until 8 years of age. We have detected a sex difference in the pattern of LH secretion seen in early puberty, and this mirrors clinical findings. The mature pattern attained by the end of puberty in both sexes is probably important for fertility.

Original publication




Journal article


J Endocrinol

Publication Date





169 - 176


Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Humans, Luteinizing Hormone, Male, Puberty, Secretory Rate, Sex Factors