Fourteen years ago independent investigations regarding the hypothalamic control of gonadotropin release were simultaneously concluded by two research teams.1,2 These reports presented the isolation and synthesis of a hypothalamic decapeptide now known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (also known as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone [LH-RH] or gonadorelin). When given parenterally to humans, this compound results in stimulation of release of the anterior pituitary gonadotropic hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). In 1978 the significance of this accomplishment was recognized by the award of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to the heads of the two research teams.
Since its discovery GnRH has been widely used as a reproductive endocrine probe to aid our understanding of basic control mechanisms involved in gonadal function in humans. Additionally, GnRH has been extensively used as a diagnostic tool for men and women with gonadal dysfunction; more recently it has also been utilized as a