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Roberto Maggi *
(*) Autore principale:
Roberto Maggi |


The term ‘fertility’ (from Latin language getting abundant harvests) leads back to several fields of the sciences; however, when it is linked to the physiology of reproduction it became, along with nutrition, as a fundamental behavior for the living species. The ‘mystery’ of human reproduction has been an attractive issue and extensively represented in figurative arts (paintings, sculptures, ect.) throughout the centuries and different cultures, being itself an ‘art’. Many scientists have been so fascinated by the art to have modified their personal and scientific lives. Art and sciences, in particular the neurosciences, share their origin during human history, being both the expression of human abilities to formulate an abstract thought to understand and describe the complexity of the world around us. For instance, paintings as the Cabanel’s Birth of Venus as well as the Primavera by Botticelli summarize several aspects of the sexual desire and reproduction; however, the neurosciences provide a more complex and artistic picture of the control of fertility. From the first descriptions, by Geoffrey Harris and Luciano Martini, of the control of the hormonal cascade governing reproductive functions by the hypothalamus, an important region of our brain, it came to the identification of the GnRH, the master regulator of hormonal reproductive axis. GnRH is produced by specific hypothalamic neurons and it is released in the blood vessels directed toward the pituitary gland in a pulsatile manner, finely tuned for rhythm and intensity, to regulate the secretion of pituitary gonadotropins LH and FSH. Released gonadotropin will exert trophic and regulatory effects on gonadal functions and on the production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogens). A number of neuroendocrine signals control the development and the activity of GnRH neurons and whose functional alterations are responsible of several reproductive system diseases. According to the data so far available, it is fair to say that the development of such complex mechanisms, under the brain control, endowed with the extraordinary ability to create new individuals could be a real artwork.

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