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Semin Reprod Med. 2012 Oct;30(5):382-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1324721. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Inactivating mutations of the human luteinizing hormone receptor in both sexes.

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Unidade de Endocrinologia do Desenvolvimento, Laboratorio de Hormonios e Genetica Molecular LIM/42, Disciplina de Endocrinologia, Hospital das Clinicas, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The human luteinizing hormone/chorionic gonadotropin receptor (LHCGR) plays a fundamental role in male and female reproductive physiology. Over the past 15 years, several homozygous or compound heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the LHCGR gene have been described in males and females. In genetic males, mutations in LHCGR were associated with distinct degrees of impairment in pre- and postnatal testosterone secretion resulting in a phenotypic spectrum. Patients with the severe form of LH resistance have predominantly female external genitalia and absence of secondary sex differentiation at puberty. Patients with milder forms have predominantly male external genitalia with micropenis and/or hypospadias or only infertility without ambiguity. The undermasculization is associated with low basal, as well as human CG-stimulated, testosterone levels and elevated LH levels after pubertal age, without abnormal step-up in testosterone biosynthesis precursors. The testes have only slightly reduced size but mature Leydig cells are absent or scarce (Leydig cell hypoplasia). Genetic females with inactivating LHCGR mutations have female external genitalia, spontaneous breast and pubic hair development at puberty, and normal or late menarche followed by oligoamenorrhea and infertility. Estradiol and progesterone levels are normal for the early to midfollicular phase, but do not reach ovulatory or luteal phase levels. Serum LH levels are high whereas follicle-stimulating hormone levels are normal or only slightly increased. Pelvic ultrasound has demonstrated a small or normal uterus and normal or enlarged ovaries with cysts. The inactivating mutations of the LHCGR have provided important insights into distinct physiological roles of LH in reproduction of both sexes.

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