The causes of puerperal infertility in lactating women are poorly understood. The controlling centres may be either the hypothalamic-pituitary axis or the ovary (or both). We studied the secretory dynamics of prolactin and gonadotropins in healthy, normal, lactating and non-lactating women after administering either gonadoliberin to assess pituitary responsiveness or human menopausal gonadotropins to assess ovarian responsiveness during the puerperium. A reciprocal relationship was observed between the secretion of gonadotropins and the secretion of prolactin after the nipples of mothers who were breast-feeding had been stimulated for 30 min. The absence of a short-loop negative feedback control by prolactin for gonadotropin secretion was not confirmed because cyclic secretion of gonadotropin was not necessarily impaired by hyperprolactinaemia. Hyperprolactinaemia did, however, appear to impair the function of the corpus luteum in women suffering from non-puerperal galactorrhoea. We postulate a multifactorial mechanism for puerperal infertility based initially on the peripheral concentration of prolactin and gonadotropins and, in some poorly defined way, on the cerebral concentration of catecholamines.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||[No source information available]|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1976|
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