Luteinizing hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin: origins of difference

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014 Mar 5;383(1-2):203-13. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2013.12.009. Epub 2013 Dec 21.


Luteinizing hormone (LH) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are widely recognized for their roles in ovulation and the support of early pregnancy. Aside from the timing of expression, however, the differences between LH and hCG have largely been overlooked in the clinical realm because of their similar molecular structures and shared receptor. With technologic advancements, including the development of highly purified and recombinant gonadotropins, researchers now appreciate that these hormones are not as interchangeable as once believed. Although they bind to a common receptor, emerging evidence suggests that LH and hCG have disparate effects on downstream signaling cascades. Increased understanding of the inherent differences between LH and hCG will foster more effective diagnostic and prognostic assays for use in a variety of clinical contexts and support the individualization of treatment strategies for conditions such as infertility.

Keywords: Gonadotropin; Human chorionic gonadotropin; Luteinizing hormone; Luteinizing hormone receptor; Luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor; Lutropin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / chemistry
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / genetics
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / genetics
  • Luteinizing Hormone / chemistry
  • Luteinizing Hormone / genetics
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Ovulation / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism*
  • Receptors, LH / chemistry
  • Receptors, LH / genetics
  • Receptors, LH / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, LH
  • Luteinizing Hormone