From Embryology

XXhpgaxis.jpg(300 × 495 pixels, file size: 24 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

The Female Endocrine Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Gonadal (HPG) Axis


  • The adult hypothalamus produces and secretes gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) into a system of blood vessels that link the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.
  • GnRH stimulates the pituitary gland by attaching to specific molecules (receptors).


  • After the coupling of GnRH with these receptors, a cascade of biochemical events causes the pituitary gland to produce and secrete two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle–stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • LH and FSH are two of a class of hormones commonly known as gonadotropins. They are secreted into the general vascular circulation and attach to receptors on the ovary.


  • LH and FSH in the general circulation attach to receptors in the ovary.
  • They trigger ovulation and stimulate ovarian production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  • These female hormones cause monthly menstrual cycling and have multiple effects throughout the body.
    • Estrogen has profound effects on the skeletal system and is crucial to maintaining normal bone health.
  • These hormones negatively feedback on both the pituitary and hypothalamus‎

Links: menstrual cycle | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | ovary | uterus | puberty


Emanuele MA, Wezeman F & Emanuele NV. (2002). Alcohol's effects on female reproductive function. Alcohol Res Health , 26, 274-81. PMID: 12875037


Most of the information available on the NIAAA Web site is within the public domain, and unless otherwise noted, may be freely downloaded and reproduced. Citation of the source is appreciated.

Original file name: Figure 1 (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone was labeled LHRH, luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone in this original figure)

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 19) Embryology XXhpgaxis.jpg. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

File history

Yi efo/eka'e gwa ebo wo le nyangagi wuncin ye kamina wunga tinya nan

current13:04, 20 May 2011Thumbnail for version as of 13:04, 20 May 2011300 × 495 (24 KB)S8600021 (talk | contribs)Changed LHRH to GnRH
14:28, 21 April 2010Thumbnail for version as of 14:28, 21 April 2010300 × 495 (24 KB)S8600021 (talk | contribs)The female endocrine Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Gonadal (HPG) axis. The hypothalamus produces and secretes luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) into a system of blood vessels that link the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. LHRH stimulates