Follicle-stimulating hormone orchestrates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion of pancreatic islets

Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 1;14(1):6991. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42801-6.


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is involved in mammalian reproduction via binding to FSH receptor (FSHR). However, several studies have found that FSH and FSHR play important roles in extragonadal tissue. Here, we identified the expression of FSHR in human and mouse pancreatic islet β-cells. Blocking FSH signaling by Fshr knock-out led to impaired glucose tolerance owing to decreased insulin secretion, while high FSH levels caused insufficient insulin secretion as well. In vitro, we found that FSH orchestrated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in a bell curve manner. Mechanistically, FSH primarily activates Gαs via FSHR, promoting the cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) and calcium pathways to stimulate GSIS, whereas high FSH levels could activate Gαi to inhibit the cAMP/PKA pathway and the amplified effect on GSIS. Our results reveal the role of FSH in regulating pancreatic islet insulin secretion and provide avenues for future clinical investigation and therapeutic strategies for postmenopausal diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone* / metabolism
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone* / pharmacology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans* / metabolism
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Receptors, FSH / genetics
  • Receptors, FSH / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Glucose
  • Receptors, FSH
  • Insulin
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases