Follicle-stimulating hormone

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Follicle-stimulating hormone, β-subunit
Follicle-stimulating hormone, β-subunit
FSH (α-FSH (green), β-FSH (orange)) with receptor (blue) according to PDB  1XWD

Existing structural data : 1fl7 , 1xwd

Properties of human protein
Mass / length primary structure β-FSH: 111 aa; 12.5 kDa
Secondary to quaternary structure Heterodimer (α-FSH + β-FSH)
Gene name FSHB
External IDs
Drug information
ATC code G03 GA04

G03 GA05

G03 GA06

Q G03GA90

DrugBank DB00066
Drug class Sex hormone
Homology family LH BETA
Parent taxon Vertebrates
human mouse
Entrez 2487 14308
Ensemble ENSG00000131808 ENSMUSG00000027120
UniProt P01225 Q60687
Refseq (mRNA) NM_000510 NM_008045
Refseq (protein) NP_000501 NP_032071
Gene locus Chr 11: 30.21 - 30.21 Mb Chr 2: 106.9 - 106.9 Mb
PubMed search 2487 14308

The follicle stimulating hormone ( FSH ), and follitropin , is a sex hormone ( gonadotropin ) from the group of glycoproteins that in both sexes in certain cells of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland is formed (adenohypophysis).


In women, FSH causes the maturation of follicles in the ovary ( follicle growth) up to the mature egg and ovulation, and in men it stimulates sperm formation ( spermatogenesis ). The release of FSH is regulated by the associated release hormone gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Mutations in FSHB - gene can FSH deficiency and a rare hereditary this result, leading to infertility cause.

In women, the body's own follitropin is released especially in the first 14 days of the cycle. Another hormone that is also required for the maturation of the sex cells in both sexes is the luteinizing hormone (LH, lutropin).


The glycoprotein FSH consists of two subunits, the α-subunit ( α-FSH ) with 92 amino acids and the β-subunit (β-FSH) with 111 amino acids. The β subunit is specific for the FSH. The α subunit, on the other hand, is also found in other hormones: for example in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), luteinizing hormone (LH) and thyrotropin (TSH).


The CGA gene that codes for the glycoprotein hormone subunit A is located in humans on chromosome 6 gene locus q14.3. The FSHB gene coding for the β subunit , on the other hand, is on chromosome 11, gene locus 14.1.

Therapeutic use

Due to its stimulating effect on the maturation of the germ cells (sperm and egg cells), follitropin is used to increase fertility.

Human medicine

The most common use occurs in women who have an unfulfilled desire to have children, who need hormonal support or who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Natural follitropin ( urofollitropin , uFSH) obtained from the urine of postmenopausal women or recombinantly produced human follitropin (rFSH) such as follitropin alfa or follitropin beta ( INN ), which is obtained from CHO cells , is used for treatment . The administration of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) in the first half of the menstrual cycle increases the levels of FSH in the body. rFSH is similar in structure and effect to the body's own human follitropin and, like this in women, stimulates the development of the follicles for follicle rupture in the ovaries, so that the probability of ovulation and thus pregnancy is increased. In men with underactive hormonal gonads ( hypogonadotropic hypogonadism ), rFSH increases spermatogenesis .

If the egg cell is fertilized outside the body as part of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), higher amounts of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are usually administered so that several follicles mature. The eggs are then removed through microsurgery.

The therapeutic application is by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection.

Veterinary medicine

Pig-derived follitropin is used in fertility treatment for heifers and cows.

Trade names

  • Urofollitropin: Bravelle (D)
  • Follitropin alfa: Gonal-f (EU, CH), Ovaleap , (EU), Bemfola (EU)
  • Follitropin beta: Fertavid (EU), Puregon (EU, CH)
  • Porcine pituitary follitropin: Folltropin (Veterinary)
Combination preparations
  • Combination of follitropin alfa with lutropin alfa: Pergoveris (EU, CH)
  • Combination of porcine follitropin with lutropin: Pluset (veterinary medicine)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. UniProt P01225
  2. Chorionic gonadotropin, alpha chain; CGA.  In: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man . (English)
  3. Follicle-stimulating hormone, beta polypeptide; FSHB.  In: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man . (English)
  4. ^ Documed AG: In: March 11, 2011, accessed July 20, 2015 .
  5. ^ Documed AG: In: March 11, 2011, accessed July 20, 2015 .