• Based on the knowledge of the physiology of regulation of gonadotropins and gonadal steroids, basal levels of these hormones might be indicative of the etiologic factors of abnormal pubertal development. In addition, stimulatory tests may help in the diagnosis of such conditions. It is interesting that the pubertal maturation of the adrenal cortex is independent of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. The role of the adrenal cortex for the pubertal development remains questionable: adrenal androgens are low in isosexual precocious puberty, low in delayed adolescence, and normal in hyper- or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. The importance of this role is doubled in congenital virilizing adrenal hyperplasia. When the disease is untreated, although adrenal androgens in excess advance bone age and hypothalamic maturation, girls remain prepubertal. When the therapeutic control is good, normal puberty occurs. The action of the adrenal androgens on growth and puberty remains to be determined.
(Am J Dis Child 132:797-805, 1978)