Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG, or human chorionic gonadotrophin) is a placental hormone initially secreted by cells (syncitiotrophoblasts) from the implanting conceptus during week 2, supporting the ovarian corpus luteum, which in turn supports the endometrial lining and therefore maintains pregnancy.
The hormone can be detected in maternal blood and urine and is the basis of many pregnancy tests. The protein has many other roles including stimulating the onset of fetal gonadal steroidogenesis, and high levels have been found to be teratogenic to fetal gonadal tissues.
Other potential cellular sources can include: hyperglycosylated hCG produced by cytotrophoblast cells, free beta-subunit made by multiple primary non-trophoblastic malignancies, and pituitary hCG made by the gonadotrope cells of the anterior pituitary.
A member of the glycoprotein hormone family that includes the pituitary hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
- Links: Implantation | Placenta Development | Week 2 | Trophoblast | Endocrine Placenta | Ovary Development | Human Chorionic Gonadotropin | Pregnancy Test
- Factor Links: BMP | Sonic hedgehog | Homeobox | FGF | Nanog | Notch | Pax | Retinoic acid | Sox | Tbx | TGF-beta | VEGF | Wnt | hCG
Some Recent Findings
|More recent papers|
References listed on the rest of the content page and the associated discussion page (listed under the publication year sub-headings) do include some editorial selection based upon both relevance and availability.
Yvonne Yijuan Lim, Kah-Yin Loke, Cindy Weili Ho, Miriam S Kimpo, Yung-Seng Lee Ovarian Germinoma Accelerating the Presentation of Diabetes Mellitus. J. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol.: 2014; PMID:25171445 Robert D Nerenz, Ann M Gronowski Improved Performance of Point-of-Care and Over-the-Counter Qualitative Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Measurement Devices. Clin. Chem.: 2014; PMID:25161145 Henar Valbuena, Jordi Ramis, Juan Sagalá, M Ángeles Sánchez, Carlos Aulesa First-trimester screening biochemical markers (free beta-subunit human chorionic gonadotropin, pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A) and risk of early fetal loss. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. Res.: 2014; PMID:25159705 I Yalçin, S Taşkin, E G Pabuçcu, F Söylemez The value of placental protein 13, β-human chorionic gonadotropin and progesterone in the prediction of abortions in threatened abortion patients. J Obstet Gynaecol: 2014;1-4 PMID:25153203 Leopoldina Scotti, Dalhia Abramovich, Natalia Pascuali, Griselda Irusta, Gabriela Meresman, Marta Tesone, Fernanda Parborell Local VEGF inhibition prevents ovarian alterations associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol.: 2014; PMID:25151950
- Promotion of corpus luteal progesterone production
- Angiogenesis of uterine vasculature
- Cytotrophoblast differentiation
- Immuno-suppression and blockage of phagocytosis of invading trophoblast cells
- Growth of uterus in line with fetal growth
- Quiescence of uterine muscle contraction
- Promotion of growth and differentiation of fetal organs
- Umbilical cord growth and development
- Blastocysts signals endometrium prior to implantation
- hCG in sperm and receptors found in fallopian tubes suggesting pre-pregnancy communication
- hCG receptors in adult brain hippocampus, hypothalamus and brain stem, may cause pregnancy nausea and vomiting
- hCG and implantation of pregnancy, hCG stimulates metalloproteinases of cytotrophoblast cell
(Function Data from Table 1 )
Maternal Blood Levels
Levels peak at 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, then decline and are lower for rest of pregnancy
- 0-1 week: 0-50 mIU/ml
- 1-2 weeks: 40-300 mIU/ml
- 3-4 weeks: 500-6,000 mIU/ml
- 1-2 months: 5,000-200,000 mIU/ml
- 2-3 months: 10,000-100,000 mIU/ml
- 2nd trimester: 3,000-50,000 mIU/ml
- 3rd trimester: 1,000-50,000 mIU/ml
Non-pregnant females: <5.0 mIU/ml Postmenopausal females: <9.5 mIU/ml
Human 5 protein forms:
- sulfated hCG
- hyperglycosylated hCG
- hCG free beta
- hyperglycosylated free beta
The molecular weight of hCG is approximately 36,000 (36 KDa) for the α-subunit and a β-subunit that are held together by both non-covalent hydrophobic and ionic interactions.
Section through the middle of a human ovary at mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation. (unlabeled image).
- Corpus luteum (white ring) shown at top left of ovary. Note the size and colour of the the corpus luteum ("yellow body") compared to the ovary and other internal structures. If implantation and pregnancy occurs, then hCG would stimulate an increase in size and hormonal function during the early pregnancy.
- white asterisks - possible older corpora lutea remnants.
- Corpus albicans (white arrow) shown at the bottom right of the ovary. Note the size and colour of the corpus albicans ("white body") compared to the corpus luteum and ovary. The corpus albicans is the degenerating non-functional form of the corpus luteum that "develops" from it if implantation and pregnancy do not occur.
- black asterisks - possible older corpora albicantia remnants.
Black arrows show the approximate cortex and medullary regions of the ovary.
Ovary corpus luteum histology.
Placental secreted hCG has leutenizing hiormone-like effects that can effect genital development, stimulating testosterone production from the testes of the male fetus and subsequent development of male genital system.
- Laurence A Cole hCG, the wonder of today's science. Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol.: 2012, 10;24 PMID:22455390 | PMC3351023 | Reprod Biol Endocrinol.
- Laurence A Cole Biological functions of hCG and hCG-related molecules. Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol.: 2010, 8;102 PMID:20735820
- Munekage Yamaguchi, Takashi Ohba, Hironori Tashiro, Gen Yamada, Hidetaka Katabuchi Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Induces Human Macrophages to Form Intracytoplasmic Vacuoles Mimicking Hofbauer Cells in Human Chorionic Villi. Cells Tissues Organs (Print): 2012; PMID:23128164
- Jee Hyun Kim, Mi Sun Shin, Gwang Yi, Byung Chul Jee, Jung Ryeol Lee, Chang Suk Suh, Seok Hyun Kim Serum biomarkers for predicting pregnancy outcome in women undergoing IVF: human chorionic gonadotropin, progesterone, and inhibin A level at 11 days post-ET. Clin Exp Reprod Med: 2012, 39(1);28-32 PMID:22563548
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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from https://php.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php?title=Human_Chorionic_Gonadotropin
- © Dr Mark Hill 2014, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G