noun, plural: follicle-stimulating hormones
Follicle-stimulating hormone is a gonadotropin produced and released by the gonadotropic cells. The gonadotropic cells are one of the many endocrine cell types in the anterior pituitary. Apart from this hormone, these cells release luteinizing hormone (LH) as well.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is an acidic glycoprotein hormone made up of two polypeptide units: alpha and beta whereas the glycan subunit is N-acetylgalactosmine, mannose, N-acetylglucosamine, galactose, and sialic acid. This glycan portion of the hormone bonds covalently with asparagine. The polypeptide and the glycan components are essential for FSH to function. It works in synergy with LH. In general, FSH is responsible for the regulation of the development, growth, pubertal maturation and reproductive processes.
In women, FSH stimulates the development of ovarian follicles (eggs) and stimulates the release of oestrogens. In men, FSH stimulates the production of sperm. It induces the Sertoli cells to secrete androgen-binding proteins.
Abnormal FSH levels may be seen in the following conditions: hypopituitarism, Klinefelter syndrome, polycystic ovary disease, Turners syndrome and ovarian failure.
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