Impact of menopausal hormone formulations on pituitary-ovarian regulatory feedback

Juliana M. Kling, N. Maritza Dowling, Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Carey E. Gleason, Kejal Kantarci, Joann E. Manson, Hugh S. Taylor, Eliot A. Brinton, Rogerio A. Lobo, Marcelle I. Cedars, Lubna Pal, Genevieve Neal-Perry, Frederick Naftolin, S. Mitchell Harman, Virginia M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Changes in pituitary-ovarian hormones across the menopausal transition have multiple physiological consequences. However, little is known about how the major types of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) affect pituitary-ovarian hormonal relationships. This study evaluated these relationships in recently menopausal women (52.45 ± 2.49 yr of age) in the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) who were compliant to randomized, double- blinded treatment with oral conjugated equine estrogen (o-CEE; n = 109), transdermal 17_abs-estradiol (t-E2; n = 107), or placebo (n = 146). Androstenedione, testosterone, 17β-estradiol, estrone, folliclestimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) were measured in serum before (baseline) and 48 mo after randomization to treatment. Descriptive summaries of hormone levels were performed, and multiple regression analyses were used to examine the effects of o-CEE, t-E2, and placebo on these hormone levels at 48 mo, adjusting for baseline levels. A network analysis examined the covariance of changes in hormone levels over the 48 mo within treatment groups. As expected, at 48 mo of treatment, hormone levels differed between women in the two active treatment groups compared with placebo, and network analysis indicated stronger relationships among hormone levels in the t-E2 and o-CEE groups compared with placebo. Associations among testosterone, 17β-estradiol, FSH, and LH differed between the o-CEE group compared with t-E2 and placebo groups. Thus, two common HT regimens differentially alter pituitary-ovarian hormone levels, altering feedback cycles and interhormonal associations in recently menopausal women. These interactions provide the basis for future studies investigating the impact of hormonal modulation of aging, including cognitive decline in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R912-R920
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Androgen
  • Estrogen
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone
  • Hormone therapy
  • Menopause
  • Pituitary-ovarian hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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