The basic components of the female reproductive system are the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the ovary. The hypothalamus, located at the base of the brain, is ''grand central station,'' where internal and external signals are translated into chemical messages, called releasing or inhibiting factors. The key releasing factor for reproduction is gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which when released in defined pulses causes the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and in some cases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) by the anterior pituitary gland. A key inhibiting factor is dopamine, which inhibits the secretion of prolactin by the anterior pituitary gland.

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