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Keywords:

  • endocrinology;
  • menstrual cycle;
  • infancy;
  • puberty;
  • menopause;
  • hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis

Abstract

Among long-living primates the attainment of fertile menstrual cycles requires concerted and sequential interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary, ovaries, and uterus over many years. The longitudinal progression of these reproductive events during fetal development, infancy, menarche, adulthood, and menopause are discussed. The utility of laboratory primates for the study of this ontogeny, as well as their application for investigation of fertility problems afflicting women is well documented. Interactions within the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis in the menstrual cycle and interdependencies between the maternal and feto-placental compartments in pregnancy are of great importance.