Characterization of hormonal profiles during the luteal phase in regularly menstruating women

There is a prolonged pituitary activity during the luteini- zation process that is modulated by an interaction be- tween progesterone and luteinizing hormone.

Volume 108, Issue 1, Pages 175–182.e1


Rene Ecochard, M.D., Ph.D., Thomas Bouchard, M.D., Rene Leiva, M.D., Saman Abdulla, M.Sc., Olivier Dupuis, M.D., Ph.D., Olivia Duterque, M.D., Marie Garmier Billard, M.D., Hans Boehringer, Ph.D., Christophe Genolini, Ph.D.



To characterize the variability of hormonal profiles during the luteal phase in normal cycles.


Observational study.


Not applicable.


Ninety-nine women contributing 266 menstrual cycles.


The women collected first morning urine samples that were analyzed for estrone-3-glucuronide, pregnanediol-3-alpha-glucuronide (PDG), FSH, and LH. The women had serum P tests (twice per cycle) and underwent ultrasonography to identify the day of ovulation.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The luteal phase was divided into three parts: the early luteal phase with increasing PDG (luteinization), the midluteal phase with PDG ≥10 μg/mg Cr (progestation), and the late luteal phase (luteolysis) when PDG fell below 10 μg/mg Cr.


Long luteal phases begin with long luteinization processes. The early luteal phase is marked by low PDG and high LH levels. Long luteinization phases were correlated with low E1G and low PDG levels at day 3. The length of the early luteal phase is highly variable between cycles of the same woman. The duration and hormonal levels during the rest of the luteal phase were less correlated with other characteristics of the cycle.


The study showed the presence of a prolonged pituitary activity during the luteinization process, which seems to be modulated by an interaction between P and LH. This supports a luteal phase model with three distinct processes: the first is a modulated luteinization process, whereas the second and the third are relatively less modulated processes of progestation and luteolysis.

Read the full text here.