Published Date2020-01-15
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology, 2020-01-15, Volume 500 Find other publications in this journal
Author Info
  • Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, USA. Electronic address:
  • Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, USA. Electronic address:


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a glycoprotein hormone produced by gonadotropes in the anterior pituitary that plays a central role in controlling ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis in females. Moreover, recent studies strongly suggest that FSH exerts extragonadal actions, particularly regulating bone mass and adiposity. Despite its crucial role, the mechanisms regulating FSH secretion are not completely understood. It is evident that hypothalamic, ovarian, and pituitary factors are involved in the neuroendocrine, paracrine, and autocrine regulation of FSH production. Large animal models, such as the female sheep, represent valuable research models to investigate specific aspects of FSH secretory processes. This review: (i) summarizes the role of FSH controlling reproduction and other biological processes; (ii) discusses the hypothalamic, gonadal, and pituitary regulation of FSH secretion; (iii) considers the biological relevance of the different FSH isoforms; and (iv) summarizes the distinct patterns of FSH secretion under different physiological conditions.