Puberty turned on by brain during deep sleep

September 13, 2012

Slow-wave sleep, or 'deep sleep', is intimately involved in the complex control of the onset of puberty, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).

The many changes that occur in boys and girls during puberty are triggered by changes in the brain. Previous studies have shown that the parts of the brain that control puberty first become active during sleep, but the present study shows that it is , rather than sleep in general, that is associated with this activity.

"If the that activate the reproductive system depend on deep sleep, then we need to be concerned that inadequate or disturbed sleep in children and may interfere with normal pubertal maturation," said Harvard researcher, Natalie Shaw, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital who led the study. "This is particularly true for children who have been diagnosed with , but may also have more widespread implications as recent studies have found that most adolescents get less sleep than they require."

In the study, researchers examined pulses of luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion in relation to specific sleep stages in children ages 9-15. LH is essential for reproduction and triggers ovulation in females and stimulates the production of testosterone in males. Researchers found that the majority of LH pulses that occur after sleep are preceded by deep sleep suggesting that deep sleep is intimately involved in pubertal onset.

Explore further: A good night's sleep may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in obese teens

More information: The article "Insights into Puberty: The Relationship between Sleep Stages and Pulsatile LH Secretion" is slated to appear in the November 2012 issue of JCEM.

Related Stories

A good night's sleep may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in obese teens

September 20, 2011
Obese teenagers who don't get the proper amount of sleep may have disruptions in insulin secretion and blood sugar (glucose) levels, say pediatric researchers. Their study suggests that getting a good night's sleep may stave ...

Sleep disturbances hurt memory consolidation

March 28, 2012
Sleep disturbance negatively impacts the memory consolidation and enhancement that usually occurs with a good night's sleep, according to a study published Mar. 28 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.