Objectives: The objectives of this study were to document specific attributes of pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion in middle-aged women before discernible alterations in their menstrual cycles and to compare the results to corresponding data obtained in younger women.
Study design: After documenting normal cycle length, biphasic basal body temperatures, and normal midluteal progesterone in younger and middle-aged women during an initial cycle, daily blood samples and samples withdrawn at 10-minute intervals for 8 hours during the midfollicular phase were obtained during a subsequent cycle.
Results: Assessment of luteinizing hormone pulses with the pulse detection algorithm Cluster demonstrated a prolonged interpulse interval and increased pulse width in the older women. Assessment of luteinizing hormone secretory bursts and half-life with the deconvolution analysis procedure demonstrated a prolonged interburst interval and half-life in the older women. Appraisal of approximate entropy revealed greater orderliness of luteinizing hormone release in the older women.
Conclusions: Middle-aged women exhibit alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary function that may account in part for age-related changes in reproductive potential.