The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG) plays vital roles in reproduction and steroid hormone production in both sexes. The focus of this review is upon gene structures, receptor structures and the signaling pathways of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The hormones' functions in reproduction as well as consequences resulting from mutations are also summarized. Specific characteristics of hormones such as the pulsatile secretions of GnRH are also covered. The different regulators of the HPG axis are introduced including kisspeptin, activin, inhibin, follistatin, androgens and estrogen. This review includes not only their basic information, but also their unique function in the HPG axis. Here we view the HPG axis as a whole, so relations between ligands and receptors are well described crossing different levels of the HPG axis. Hormone interactions and transformations are also considered. The major information of this article is depicted in three figures summarizing the current discoveries on the HPG axis. This article systematically introduces the basic knowledge of the HPG axis and provides information of the current advances relating to reproductive hormones.
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