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Minerva Ginecol. 2018 Oct;70(5):561-587. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4784.18.04307-1. Epub 2018 Sep 26.

The gonadotropin system, lessons from animal models and clinical cases.

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This review article centers upon family of gonadotropin hormones which consists of two pituitary hormones - follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) as well as one non-pituitary hormone - human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) secreted by placenta, and their receptors. Gonadotropins play an essential role in proper sexual development, puberty, gametogenesis, maintenance of pregnancy and male sexual differentiation during the fetal development. They belong to the family of glycoprotein hormones thus they constitute heterodimeric proteins built of common α subunit and hormone-specific β-subunit. Hitherto, several mutations in genes encoding both gonadotropins and their receptors have been identified in humans. Their occurrence resulted in a number of different phenotypes including delayed puberty, primary amenorrhea, hermaphroditism, infertility and hypogonadism. In order to understand the effects of mutations on the phenotype observed in affected patients, detailed molecular studies are required to map the relationship between the structure and function of gonadotropins and their receptors. Nonetheless, in vitro assays are often insufficient to understand physiology. Therefore, several animal models have been developed to unravel the physiological roles of gonadotropins and their receptors.

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