Secretory process regularity monitors neuroendocrine feedback and feedforward signaling strength in humans

J. D. Veldhuis, M. Straume, A. Iranmanesh, T. Mulligan, C. Jaffe, A. Barkan, M. L. Johnson, S. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The present experiments examine the neuroregulatory hypothesis that the degree of sample-by-sample regularity of hormone output by an interlinked hypothalamopituitary target-organ system monitors the strength of feedback and/or feedforward signaling. To test this postulate and assess its generality, we implemented a total of nine thematically complementary perturbation experiments. In particular, we altered feedback or feedforward signaling selectively in two distinct neuroendocrine systems; namely, the growth hormone (GH) insulin-like growth factor type I (IGF-I) and the luteinizing hormone-testosterone axes. Four experimental paradigms comprised preferential reduction vs. enhancement of IGF-I or testosterone feedback signal strength; and, conversely, five others entailed selective attenuation vs. augmentation of GH-releasing hormone and gonadotropin-releasing hormone feedforward signal intensity. In these independent interventions, quantitation of subordinate (nonpulsatile) secretory pattern reproducibility via the approximate entropy statistic unmasked salient changes (P values typically < 10-3) in the conditional regularity of serial hormone output with high consistency (96-100%). In particular, approximate entropy quantified degradation of secretory subpattern orderliness under either muted feedback restraint or heightened feedforward drive. Assuming valid interpretation of the biological constraints imposed, these experimental observations coincide with earlier reductionist mathematical predictions, wherein increased irregularity of coupled parameter output mirrors attenuated feedback and/or augmented feedforward coupling within an integrative system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R721-R729
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 49-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • ACTH
  • Cortisol
  • Growth hormone
  • Hormone
  • Insulin -like growth factor type I
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Neuroregulation
  • Testosterone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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