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Reproduction. 2005 Sep;130(3):293-302.

What have we learned about gonadotropin function from gonadotropin subunit and receptor knockout mice?

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Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


A number of biochemical and physiological studies elucidated the roles of pituitary and placental glycoprotein hormones. Advances in the past two decades in manipulating the mouse genome by random or site-specific mutagenesis have heralded a new dimension to our understanding of the biology of gonadotropins. It is now possible to model many human reproductive disorders involving gonadotropins/gonadotropin-signaling in the mouse. Mutant mice selectively lacking either FSH or LH or their cognate receptors have been generated. The gonadotropin ligand and the corresponding receptor knockout mice mostly phenocopy each other. Analyses with these genetic models confirmed earlier physiological studies; in addition they also revealed novel roles for gonadotropins previously unrecognized. While FSH action seems dispensable for male but not female fertility, absence of LH causes infertility in both the sexes. While Sertoli cell number and germ cell carrying capacity of the Sertoli cells in compromised in FSH mutants, both somatic and germ cell lineages are affected in the LH mutants resulting in complete male infertility. FSH mutant females demonstrate a preantral stage block in folliculogenesis and FSH alone is not sufficient to promote full folliculogenesis in the absence of LH. Pre-ovulatory stage follicles do not form and most of the follicles undergo apoptosis in the absence of LH. Many extra-gonadal phenotypes have been described for the receptor knockout mice and whether these bear any resemblances to those in patients with similar inactivating mutations in the receptors for FSH and LH remains an open question. Thus the in vivo models will continue to have a significant impact in understanding gonadotropin physiology and pathophysiology and serve as novel genetic tools to study signaling mechanisms in the gonads.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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