Direct actions of gonadotropins beyond the reproductive system and their role in human aging and neoplasia


Marek Pawlikowski

Pituitary hormones folitropin (follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH) and lutropin (luteinising hormone, LH) are known as the key regulators of human reproduction. However, their receptors have been identified also in several organs and tissues beyond the reproductive system, and there is cumulating evidence of their direct extra-gonadal actions. The expression of LH receptors (LHR) was found in the brain and adrenal cortex. FSH receptors (FSHR) were found to be expressed in osteoclasts, monocytes, adipocytes, and peri- and intra-tumoural blood vessel endothelia of malignant tumours. Other localisations of FSHR and LHR are also suggested by immunohistochemistry, but these findings need confirmation using molecular biology techniques. Because the high levels of gonadotropins are a constant phenomenon during human aging, especially in postmenopausal women, it is hypothesised that the direct actions of FSH and LH are involved in the pathogenesis of age-related disorders. The proposal of therapy based on the inhibition of gonadotropin hypersecretion is also discussed.

Keywords: folitropin; lutropin; neoplasia; aging

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