Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism by Scott Isaacs Dr. Bob's Guide to Balancing Female Hormones

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is sometimes spelt luteinising hormone and is also known as interstitial cell stimulating hormone. This glossary entry therefore contains the same information as for those names and spellings.

Luteinizing Hormone is a glycoprotein gonadotropin hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland (an endocrine gland in the human body). It is released by the anterior pituitary in hourly pulses called "circhoral oscillations".

Luteinizing Hormone (and also follicle stimulating hormone) binds to receptors in the testes (in males) and the ovaries (in females), and regulates gonadal function by promoting sex steroid production and "gametogenesis" - i.e. the processes by which spermatoza and ova are formed.

The roles of luteinizing hormone are slightly different in men and women:

The actions of luteinizing hormone in men include:

  • Stimulating testosterone production from the interstitial cells of the testes (Leydig cells);
  • Luteinizing hormone (and also follicle stimulating hormone) are essential for the maturation of spermatoza - i.e. mature male sex cells.

The actions of luteinizing hormone in women include:

  • Stimulating oestrogen and progesterone production from the ovary: A surge of luteinizing hormone midway through the menstrual cycle leads to ovulation. Continued secretion of luteinizing hormone stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone.
  • In conjunction with follicle stimulating hormone, controlling the secretion of oestrogen from ovarian follicles.

See also: What is a Hormone ?

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