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Progesterone also has a variety of influences on behavior. Near the end of pregnancy, the ovary secretes relaxin, a peptide hormone which acts to prepare the birth canal for parturition. Relaxin increases the flexibility of the ligaments of the cervix and connective tissue of the pubic area (Martin, 1985). Small quantities of relaxin are also secreted by the placenta and uterus. The ovary also produces inhibin, which acts to inhibit FSH secretion in the female. 11 THE PLACENTA When pregnancy occurs, specific hormones are secreted by the fertilized egg and are thus useful in pregnancy tests.

Oxytocin and vasopressin are neurohormones manufactured by hypothalamic neurosecretory cells, but are stored and released from nerve terminals in the posterior pituitary gland. The releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are also neurohormones. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the production of neurohormones in neurosecretory cells and the complex interactions between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland (see also Brownstein, Russell and Gainer, 1980). Now is a convenient time to address the problem of many hormones having two or more different names.

In the male, FSH stimulates sperm production (spermatogenesis) and the secretion of the hormone inhibin by acting on the Sertoli cells of the testis. Luteinizing hormone (LH). In the female, luteinizing hormone stimulates ovulation and the formation of the progesterone-secreting luteal cells (corpora lutea) in the ovary. In the male, luteinizing hormone stimulates the Leydig cells (also called interstitial cells) to secrete androgens such as testosterone. Prolactin (PRL). Prolactin is produced in lactotroph (or mammotroph) cells in the adenohypophysis.

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