Human Follicle Stimulating Hormone (hFSH) belongs to a subset of glycoprotein hormones, called gonadotropins, that regulate gonadal function. Secreted by the anterior pituitary gland, hFSH stimulates the growth and maturation of the ovarian follicles in women, and stimulates spermatogenesis and the maturation of germ cells in men.

Immunoassays for serum levels of hFSH, and for luteinizing hormone (hLH), are useful in the evaluation of disorders of reproduction and puberty, such as hypogonadism, ovulation timing, and infertility. In addition, serum levels of hFSH and hLH are monitored in ovulation induction and in the clinical administration of gonadotropins.

hFSH can be dissociated to yield two dissimilar subunits, α-hFSH and β-hFSH. The α-subunit (approximate molecular weight of 13,500 Daltons) is virtually identical to the α-subunits of the related pituitary hormones, hLH and thyroid stimulating hormone (hTSH), and that of chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a placental hormone. The biological activity of hFSH is dependent on the distinct make-up of the β-subunit (approximate molecular weight of 20,500 Daltons), which differs in amino acid sequence from the β-subunits of hLH, hTSH, and hCG.

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