Luteinizing hormone

Luteinizing hormone (LH, also known as lutropin) is a hormone


LH is a glycoprotein. Each monomeric unit is a sugar-like protein molecule; two of these make the full, functional protein.

Its structure is similar to the other glycoproteins, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The protein dimer contains 2 polypeptide units, labeled alpha and beta subunits that are connected by two disulfide bridges:

The different composition of these oligosaccharides affects bioactivity and speed of degradation. The biologic half-life of LH is 20 minutes, shorter than that of FSH (3-4 hours) or hCG (24 hours).[citation needed]


The gene for the alpha subunit is located on chromosome 6q12.21.

The luteinizing hormone beta subunit gene is localized in the LHB/CGB gene cluster on chromosome 19q13.32. In contrast to the alpha gene activity, beta LH subunit gene activity is restricted to the pituitary gonadotropic cells. It is regulated by the gonadotropin releasing hormone from the hypothalamus. Inhibin, activin, and sex hormones do not affect genetic activity for the beta subunit production of LH.


In both males and females, LH is essential for reproduction.

The release of LH at the pituitary gland is controlled by pulses of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. Those pulses, in turn, are subject to the estrogen feedback from the gonads.

Normal levels

LH levels are normally low during childhood and, in women, high after menopause. During the reproductive years typical levels are between 5-20 mIU/ml.Physiologic high LH levels are seen during the LH surge (v.s.); typically they last 48 hours.

Ovulation predictor kit (LH kit)

The detection of the LH surge has become useful for people who want to know when ovulation occurs. LH can be detected by urinary ovulation predictor kits (OPK, also LH-kit) that are performed daily around the time ovulation may be expected. The conversion from a negative to a positive reading would suggest that ovulation is about to occur within 24-48 hours. Couples who plan to conceive would time intercourse accordingly.

As sperm can stay viable in the woman for several days, such tests are not recommended for contraceptive practices.

Disease states

Relative elevations

In children with precocious puberty of pituitary or central origin, LH and FSH levels may be in the reproductive range instead of the low levels typical for their age.

During the reproductive years, relatively elevated LH is frequently seen in patients with the polycystic ovary syndrome; however it would be unusual for them to have LH levels outside of the normal reproductive range.

High LH levels

Persistently high LH levels are indicative of situations where the normal restricting feedback from the gonad is absent, leading to a pituitary production of both LH and FSH. While this is typical in the menopause, it is abnormal in the reproductive years. There it may be a sign of:

  1. Premature menopause
  2. Gonadal dysgenesis, Turner syndrome
  3. Castration
  4. Swyer syndrome
  5. Certain forms of CAH
  6. Testicular failure

Deficient LH activity

Diminished secretion of LH can result in failure of gonadal function (hypogonadism). This condition is typically manifest in males as failure in production of normal numbers of sperm. In females, amenorrhea is commonly observed. Conditions with very low LH secretions are:

  1. Kallmann syndrome
  2. Hypothalamic suppression
  3. Hypopituitarism
  4. Eating disorder
  5. Hyperprolactinemia
  6. Gonadotropin deficiency
  7. Gonadal suppression therapy
  8. ##GnRH antagonist ##GnRH agonist (downregulation)


LH is available mixed with FSH in the form of Pergonal, and other forms of urinary gonadotropins . More purified forms of urinary gonadotropins may reduce the LH portion in relation to FSH. Recombinant LH is available as lutropin alfa (Luveris). All these medications have to be given parenterally. They are commonly in infertility therapy to stimulate follicular development, notably in IVF therapy.

Often, hCG medication is used as an LH substitute as it activates the same receptor. Medically used hCG is derived from urine of pregnant women, less costly, and has a longer half-life than LH.

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Luteinizing hormone" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: