Human Reproduction Problem Set

Problem 10: Hormone produced by the corpus luteum

Tutorial to help answer the question

What hormone normally produced in the corpus luteum that inhibits development of ovarian follicles is a common component of oral contraceptives?


Ovarian hormones

Corpus luteum
After ovulation, the ruptured ovarian follicle becomes the corpus luteum. While the ovarian follicles produced estrogen, the corpus luteum produce both estrogen and progesterone.

Progesterone is required for maintenance of the endometrial lining of the uterus where the blastocyst is implanted.

If the released egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum regress, and the production of progesterone drops. The uterine lining is sloughed off, completing the monthly uterine cycle. Following the menstrual period, the ovarian and uterine cycles begin anew, with the development of an ovarian follicle, and the preparation of the uterus for blastocyst implantation.

Oral contraceptives
Oral contraceptives normally contain progesterone, or progesterone in combination with other estrogens. By maintaining a slightly elevated level of progesterone via oral contraceptives (or injectible contraceptives), the signals from the brain to the ovaries to initiate the ovarian cycle that lead to follicle maturation are repressed, and ovulation does not occur.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Updated: July 15, 1999
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