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Luteinizing hormone stimulates the testes in males and the ovaries in females. This hormone is vital for Reproductive health.

Introduction to Luteinizing Hormone


Luteinizing hormone (LH) a hormone released by the pituitary gland in response to luteinizing hormone- releasing hormone (LHRH) (R). LHRH is released from the hypothalamus.

LH is a gonadotropic hormone and controls the functions of the female ovaries and male testes. It is also essential for proper reproductive function.

In males, it is also called the Interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH) (R).

In general, when estrogen and progesterone levels fall, LH levels rise. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is synergistic with LH.

In Women

In women, luteinizing hormone (LH) carries out different roles in the two halves of the menstrual cycle.

In weeks 1-2 of the cycle LH is required to stimulate the ovarian follicles in the ovary to produce the female sex hormone, oestradiol.

Later a “surge” in LH levels causes Ovulation. In the remainder of the cycle, LH stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone which is required to support the early stages of pregnancy, if fertilization occurs (R).


In Men

Luteinizing hormone stimulates Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone. If testosterone levels decrease, LH secretion increases. This is known as negative feedback.

Testosterone, in turn, stimulates sperm production as well as generating male characteristics throughout the body (R).


Effects of Luteinizing Hormone

1) Luteinizing Hormone and Depression


Major depressive disorder is associated with abnormal regulation of LH (R).

2) Photoperiod Alters Luteinizing Hormone Secretion

A study found that dark-deprivation (photoperiod disruption) increased LH levels in fetal circulation but not in maternal circulation (R).

This study sheds new light on how circadian photoperiod disruption during pregnancy could alter the release of certain hormones into the fetal blood.

3) Luteinizing Hormone Helps Induce Ovulation

Ovine and human LH were good substitutes for hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) for induction of ovulation in female frogs (R).

4) Luteinizing Hormone and Alzheimer’s


In elderly women (postmenopausal), an increase in LH levels can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease development. Treatment with Gonadotropin release hormone agonists could provide benefits (R).

However, research is still in its preliminary stages and many questions remain unanswered.

5) Effect of Luteinizing Hormone on Glucose Metabolism

An increase in glycolytic activity and mitochondrial glucose oxidation is seen in bovine oocytes cultured with LH (R).

Elevated LH Levels

Elevated LH levels had adverse effects in multiple studies.

Women with an LH level greater than one standard deviation above the mean have a decrease in the rate of fertilization (R).

Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS) have a high pulsatile level of LH (R).

High LH levels are seen in genetic conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome.Klinefelter’s syndrome shrinks your testes and causes them to not produce enough testosterone for sperm production (R).

Reduced LH Levels

Low levels of LH will limit sperm production and can cause infertility.

Kallmann’s syndrome is caused by a deficiency in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (i.e., LHRH). It can result in a lack of sexual development, a small penis, undeveloped testes, and a delay in or lack of puberty (R).

In women, low levels of luteinizing hormone can lead to low levels of estrogen and improper development of corpora lutea (R).

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Test







An LH test measures the amount of Luteinizing Hormone in the sample of blood or urine. It may be done to find the cause of a couple’s inability to become pregnant. LH test is commonly used to evaluate (R).

  • A women’s egg supply (ovarian reserve)
  • A man’s sperm count
  • menstrual problems in women.
  • a women’s response to medicines taken to stimulate ovulation.


  • Hypogonadism is caused by the substitution of a single amino acid in the beta subunit of LH (R1, R2).
  • Luveris is the first and only recombinant human Luteinizing hormone (r-hLH) approved in the world (R).

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Howard

    I was also unimpressed with that section of the article. What is a better resource for understanding LH/HCG relevant to a hypogonadic male?

  • john

    In the “Elevated LH” levels section, the study you cite as evidence for adverse effects (Klinefelter’s) states: “Both LH and FSH levels were suppressed by acute or prolonged testosterone administration and there was no evidence for a differential effect on LH”
    LH would be naturally suppressed by negative feedback with testosterone. In fact, in all the studies you present in this section, high LH levels are the result of other conditions the body is trying to fix!

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