<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Identify the most important hormones produced by the testes and ovaries
  • Name the hormones produced by the placenta and state their functions

This section briefly discusses the hormonal role of the gonads—the male testes and female ovaries—which produce the sex cells (sperm and ova) and secrete the gonadal hormones. The roles of the gonadotropins released from the anterior pituitary (FSH and LH) were discussed earlier.

The primary hormone produced by the male testes is testosterone    , a steroid hormone important in the development of the male reproductive system, the maturation of sperm cells, and the development of male secondary sex characteristics such as a deepened voice, body hair, and increased muscle mass. Interestingly, testosterone is also produced in the female ovaries, but at a much reduced level. In addition, the testes produce the peptide hormone inhibin    , which inhibits the secretion of FSH from the anterior pituitary gland. FSH stimulates spermatogenesis.

The primary hormones produced by the ovaries are estrogens    , which include estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estrogens play an important role in a larger number of physiological processes, including the development of the female reproductive system, regulation of the menstrual cycle, the development of female secondary sex characteristics such as increased adipose tissue and the development of breast tissue, and the maintenance of pregnancy. Another significant ovarian hormone is progesterone    , which contributes to regulation of the menstrual cycle and is important in preparing the body for pregnancy as well as maintaining pregnancy. In addition, the granulosa cells of the ovarian follicles produce inhibin, which—as in males—inhibits the secretion of FSH.During the initial stages of pregnancy, an organ called the placenta develops within the uterus. The placenta supplies oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, excretes waste products, and produces and secretes estrogens and progesterone. The placenta produces human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) as well. The hCG hormone promotes progesterone synthesis and reduces the mother’s immune function to protect the fetus from immune rejection. It also secretes human placental lactogen (hPL), which plays a role in preparing the breasts for lactation, and relaxin, which is thought to help soften and widen the pubic symphysis in preparation for childbirth. The hormones controlling reproduction are summarized in [link] .

Reproductive Hormones
Gonad Associated hormones Chemical class Effect
Testes Testosterone Steroid Stimulates development of male secondary sex characteristics and sperm production
Testes Inhibin Protein Inhibits FSH release from pituitary
Ovaries Estrogens and progesterone Steroid Stimulate development of female secondary sex characteristics and prepare the body for childbirth
Placenta Human chorionic gonadotropin Protein Promotes progesterone synthesis during pregnancy and inhibits immune response against fetus

Everyday connections

Anabolic steroids

The endocrine system can be exploited for illegal or unethical purposes. A prominent example of this is the use of steroid drugs by professional athletes.

Commonly used for performance enhancement, anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male sex hormone, testosterone. By boosting natural levels of this hormone, athletes experience increased muscle mass. Synthetic versions of human growth hormone are also used to build muscle mass.

The use of performance-enhancing drugs is banned by all major collegiate and professional sports organizations in the United States because they impart an unfair advantage to athletes who take them. In addition, the drugs can cause significant and dangerous side effects. For example, anabolic steroid use can increase cholesterol levels, raise blood pressure, and damage the liver. Altered testosterone levels (both too low or too high) have been implicated in causing structural damage to the heart, and increasing the risk for cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and sudden death. Paradoxically, steroids can have a feminizing effect in males, including shriveled testicles and enlarged breast tissue. In females, their use can cause masculinizing effects such as an enlarged clitoris and growth of facial hair. In both sexes, their use can promote increased aggression (commonly known as “roid-rage”), depression, sleep disturbances, severe acne, and infertility.

Chapter review

The male and female reproductive system is regulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland in response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. In males, FSH stimulates sperm maturation, which is inhibited by the hormone inhibin. The steroid hormone testosterone, a type of androgen, is released in response to LH and is responsible for the maturation and maintenance of the male reproductive system, as well as the development of male secondary sex characteristics. In females, FSH promotes egg maturation and LH signals the secretion of the female sex hormones, the estrogens and progesterone. Both of these hormones are important in the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system, as well as maintaining pregnancy. The placenta develops during early pregnancy, and secretes several hormones important for maintaining the pregnancy.

Questions & Answers

name the 5 layers of skin
Monika Reply
stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, stratum corneum
those are the layers of epidermis,, then we have the dermis which has got two layers that is papillary dermis and reticular dermis.. beneath the dermis we have the hypodermis( subcutaneous layer) which is not considered as a layer of skin
what's a feedback
ivhil Reply
is the information or comment about something that one have done
may be you mean negative or positive feedback mechanism... in general, they mean body response its changes by hormones
what is endocrin?
Asim Reply
why should there be an inhibition to the process of gastric production in the intestinal phase
endocrine is a system through which the secretions of cell directly poured into blood.
why should there be an inhibition to the process of gastric production in the intestinal
Gloria Reply
what is a stimuli
Emily Reply
environment factor that cause a cell to respond
name the two types of melanin
Laila Reply
deference between RNA and DNA
.DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. The sugar portion of DNA is 2-Deoxyribose.RNA stands for Ribonucleic Acid.  The sugar portion of RNA is Ribose.2.The helix geometry of DNA is of B-Form (A or Z also present).The helix geometry of RNA is of A-Form.3.DNA is a double-stranded molecule consisting o
DNA consists of nucleotide but RNA consists of nucleoside DNA is double standard but RNA is single standard.In DNA at the nitrogen bases adinine,guanine,cytocin and thymine is present but in case of RNA instead of thymine uracil is present.
what are rdna
what is a heart
walker Reply
A heart is an organ in the circulatory system that pumps blood throughout the systemic regions
what is anatomy
Anatomy is the study of internal and external structures and the relationship among body parts. (the study of structure).
what is the physiology of the heart
guys help me with a pathophysiology of asthma
asthma is a lungs related disorder in which there is difficulty in breathing due to some allergic factors, their is inflamation of alveoli of respiratory part of lungs.also decreases the surface area.
what is meaning of brain strock and its types?
the pathophysiology of asthma is complex and involves airway inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness pathogenesis of asthma
skin infection please explain
Hamza Reply
what is malignant melanoma
Akon Reply
cancerous cells 🙄
yes benign is non-cancerous malignant is cancerous.
that's a simple way of explaining it however you're different processes like mitosis etc a person can be at risk for developing cancer etc
you can tell by an unusual growth of a mole, or change in size coloration with melanoma. which is abnormal growth of your squamous cells.
Types of wandering connective tissues
Hassan Reply
what are the meaning of skin
study of external structure of human body is known as anatomy
what is Tau?
Vicki Reply
what is sliva
Saqlain Reply
what is gross
Kiran Reply

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?