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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2010 Aug 24;8:102. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-8-102.

Biological functions of hCG and hCG-related molecules.

Author information

  • 1USA hCG Reference Service, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA. larry@hcglab.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

hCG is a term referring to 4 independent molecules, each produced by separate cells and each having completely separate functions. These are hCG produced by villous syncytiotrophoblast cells, hyperglycosylated hCG produced by cytotrophoblast cells, free beta-subunit made by multiple primary non-trophoblastic malignancies, and pituitary hCG made by the gonadotrope cells of the anterior pituitary.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

hCG has numerous functions. hCG promotes progesterone production by corpus luteal cells; promotes angiogenesis in uterine vasculature; promoted the fusion of cytotrophoblast cell and differentiation to make syncytiotrophoblast cells; causes the blockage of any immune or macrophage action by mother on foreign invading placental cells; causes uterine growth parallel to fetal growth; suppresses any myometrial contractions during the course of pregnancy; causes growth and differentiation of the umbilical cord; signals the endometrium about forthcoming implantation; acts on receptor in mother's brain causing hyperemesis gravidarum, and seemingly promotes growth of fetal organs during pregnancy. Hyperglycosylated hCG functions to promote growth of cytotrophoblast cells and invasion by these cells, as occurs in implantation of pregnancy, and growth and invasion by choriocarcinoma cells. hCG free beta-subunit is produced by numerous non-trophoblastic malignancies of different primaries. The detection of free beta-subunit in these malignancies is generally considered a sign of poor prognosis. The free beta-subunit blocks apoptosis in cancer cells and promotes the growth and malignancy of the cancer. Pituitary hCG is a sulfated variant of hCG produced at low levels during the menstrual cycle. Pituitary hCG seems to mimic luteinizing hormone actions during the menstrual cycle.

PMID:
20735820
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2936313
Free PMC Article
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