BI 231 - Human Physiology and Anatomy
Reproductive System Study Guide

Compiled by Pat Bowne, Sherry Dollhopf,and Justin LaManna, 2007-11


Reproduction is the hallmark and miracle of all living things. All living things reproduce, although many organisms can reproduce asexually, while others, like humans, reproduce sexually. Reproduction and sex in humans involves not only hormones, but also the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. In males and females, the hormones involved in gamete production and maturation are the same. The presence of testosterone is the determining factor in sexual development, and without it a person will be female. Thus the production of sperm and the menstrual cycle are both regulated by gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and lutenizing hormone (LH). In males, testosterone is produced in response to FSH and LH. In females, estrogen and progesterone are produced in the ovaries in response to FSH and LH and are involved in the regulation of menstruation, ovulation, and pregnancy. Pregnancy and parturition involve progesterone and estrogen, as well as prostaglandins, corticotropin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, adrenal steroids, and oxytocin.

Before class, make sure you:

--Understand mitosis and meiosis.

--Understand positive and negative feedback systems.

--Understand the inheritance of sex chromosomes in humans.

--Remember the function of hormone receptors

Tutorials and reading assignment: Ovarian cycle at:

Chapter 20, pages 707-731, 742-747

What you should know for the assessment:

--Be able to define genetic, gonadal, and phenotypic sex.

--Make sure to understand male and female gonadal development.

--Be able to make an analysis of alterations in adrenal cortex function on embryonic sexual development

--You should be able to MAP the effect of gonadotropin releasing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, lutenizing hormone, and testosterone on male sexual development and the production of sperm

--Know in DETAIL the events of the menstrual and ovarian cycles. <
a. In addition be very familiar with the levels of gonadotropin releasing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, lutenizing hormone, progesterone, and estrogen in relation to time and the events of ovulation and menstruation.

--Be able to explain the effect of estrogen and progesterone in birth control pills on ovulation and menstruation.

--Know the events in fertilization and implantation

--List the hormones secreted by the placenta and developing fetus into the mother's blood

--Explain how these hormones affect the mother’s blood composition, blood pressure, and cardiac output.

--Map the events leading to birth

--Explain how fetal physiology changes at birth

Male reproduction terms to know

Female reproduction terms to know

Practice Questions

1. A woman with an adrenal tumor that secretes high levels of testosterone becomes pregnant. If her embryo is genetically female, how might the excess testosterone in the motherís blood effect the development of the embryo?

2. Predict the effect of artificially raising the blood concentration of progesterone during day 4 through 12 of the menstrual cycle. Include how this will affect the levels of GnRH, FSH, LH, and estrogen as well as whether or not proliferation of the endometrium and ovulation would take place.

3. Look up ‘guevedoche’ on-line and explain in your own words what is happening in this syndrome.

4.Review the role of the hypothalamus and GnRH in puberty. Look up ‘Lina Medina’ and ‘precocious puberty’ on-line and explain how this could happen.

Practice question with example answer

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