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Stress puts double whammy on reproductive system, fertility - EurekAlert (article link)

- Stress hormones not only lower GnRH, but boost a recently identified suppressor of GnRH
- The common thread appears to be the glucocorticoid stress hormones, which not only suppress GnRH but boost the suppressor GnIH - a double whammy for the reproductive system.

The new research shows that stress also increases brain levels of a reproductive hormone named gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone, or GnIH, discovered nine years ago in birds and known to be present in humans and other mammals. This small protein hormone, a so-called RFamide-related peptide (RFRP), puts the brakes on reproduction by directly inhibiting GnRH.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/uoc--spd061509.php

Berkeley-- University of California, Berkeley, researchers have found what they think is a critical and, until now, missing piece of the puzzle about how stress causes sexual dysfunction and infertility.

Scientists know that stress boosts levels of stress hormones - glucocorticoids such as cortisol - that inhibit the body's main sex hormone, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), and subsequently suppresses sperm count, ovulation and sexual activity.

In the reproductive system, the brain's hypothalamus produces GnRH, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce the peripheral hormones, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which in turn stimulate production of...