Lehrer S. Puberty and resonance: a hypothesis. Mt Sinai J Med 1983;50:39-43. pdf


A new mechanism for puberty is proposed. Puberty appears to result from the interaction of two physiologic oscillators within the hypothalamus: the arcuate nucleus, which produces the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is a master oscillator that regulates many circadian rhythms. Puberty results when the frequency of the arcuate nucleus has slowed sufficiently to resonate with a harmonic of the suprachiasmatic nucleus rhythm. The onset of puberty is earlier in blind girls and rats reared in darkness because they have circadian rhythms which are more rapid than usual. Therefore, the frequency of the arcuate nucleus does not have to slow as much to resonate with the same harmonic of the suprachiasmatic nucleus rhythm, and puberty can occur at an earlier age. The proposed mechanism also accounts for the occurrence of luteinizing hormone pulses only during sleep in early puberty, and for the elevation of gonadotropins at birth.

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