Chapter: Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology: Reproductive System

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Puberty In Males

Puberty (p̄u′ber-t̄e) is the sequence of events by which a child is transformed into a young adult.

Puberty In Males

Puberty (p̄u′ber-t̄e) is the sequence of events by which a child is transformed into a young adult. The reproductive system matures and assumes its adult functions, and the structural differences between adult males and females become more apparent. 

 

In boys, puberty commonly begins between the ages of 12 and 14 and is largely completed by age 18. Before puberty, small amounts of testosterone, secreted by the testes and the adrenal cortex, inhibit GnRH, LH, and FSH secretion. Beginning just before puberty and continuing throughout puberty, developmental changes in the hypothalamus cause the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary gland to become much less sensitive to the inhibitory effect of tes-tosterone, and the rate of GnRH, LH, and FSH secretion increases. Consequently, elevated FSH levels promote spermatogenesis, and elevated LH levels cause the interstitial cells to secrete larger amounts of testosterone. Testosterone still has a negative-feedback effect on the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland, but GnRH, LH, and FSH secretion occurs at substantially higher levels.


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