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Luteinizing hormone in androgen production

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

LH acts on interstitial Leydig cells to increase the flux generating step of cholesterol conversion to pregnenolone and thence testosterone.

LH secretion is dependent upon:

  • GnRH released from the hypothalamus
  • negative feedback from testosterone on:
    • the anterior pituitary gonadodotrophin-synthesizing cells
    • the hypothalamic GnRH-releasing cells

The feedback loops are used therapeutically in advanced androgen-sensitive prostatic carcinoma:

  • GnRH analogues e.g. buserelin:
    • these are given in high dose, eventually resulting in down-regulation of GnRH receptors on pituitary gonadotroph cells
    • LH and FSH secretion is secondarily reduced
    • testosterone secretion is reduced secondary to gonadotroph reduction
  • testosterone antagonists e.g. cyproterone:
    • limits initial stimulation of prostate by GnRH analogues
    • cyproterone also acts centrally to inhibit GnRH secretion

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