Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced by cells that are surrounding a growing embryo (syncitiotrophoblast initially), which eventually forms the placenta after implantation. The presence of hCG is detected in some pregnancy tests (HCG pregnancy strip tests). Some cancerous tumors produce this hormone; therefore, elevated levels measured when the patient is not pregnant may lead to a cancer diagnosis and, if high enough, paraneoplastic syndromes, however, it is not known whether this production is a contributing cause, or an effect of carcinogenesis. The pituitary analog of hCG, known as luteinizing hormone (LH), is produced in the pituitary gland of males and females of all ages.
Regarding endogenous forms of hCG, there are various ways to categorize and measure them, including total hCG, C-terminal peptide total hCG, intact hCG, free β-subunit hCG, β-core fragment hCG, hyperglycosylated hCG, nicked hCG, alpha hCG, and pituitary hCG. Regarding pharmaceutical preparations of hCG from animal or synthetic sources, there are many gonadotropin preparations, some of which are medically justified and others of which are of a quack nature. As of December 6, 2011, the United States Food and Drug Administration has prohibited the sale of “homeopathic” and over-the-counter hCG diet products and declared them fraudulent and illegal.
B hcg is initially secreted by syncitiotrophoblast.
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a glycoprotein composed of 237 amino acids with a molecular mass of 36.7 kDa, approximately 14.5 αhCG and 22.2kDa βhCG.
It is heterodimeric, with an α (alpha) subunit identical to that of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and β (beta) subunit that is unique to hCG.
The α (alpha) subunit is 92 amino acids long.
The β-subunit of hCG gonadotropin (beta-hCG) contains 145 amino acids, encoded by six highly homologous genes that are arranged in tandem and inverted pairs on chromosome 19q13.3 – CGB (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8). It is known that CGB7 has a sequence slightly different from that of the others.
The two subunits create a small hydrophobic core surrounded by a high surface area-to-volume ratio: 2.8 times that of a sphere. The vast majority of the outer amino acids are hydrophilic.
beta-hCG is mostly similar to beta-LH, with the exception of a Carboxy Terminus Peptide (beta-CTP) containing four glycosylated serine residues that is responsible for hCG’s longer half-life.
HCG (HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN) Function
Human chorionic gonadotropin interacts with the LHCG receptor of the ovary and promotes the maintenance of the corpus luteum during the beginning of pregnancy. This allows the corpus luteum to secrete the hormone progesterone during the first trimester. Progesterone enriches the uterus with a thick lining of blood vessels and capillaries so that it can sustain the growing fetus.
Due to its highly negative charge, hCG may repel the immune cells of the mother, protecting the fetus during the first trimester. It has also been hypothesized that hCG may be a placental link for the development of local maternal immunotolerance. For example, hCG-treated endometrial cells induce an increase in T cell apoptosis (dissolution of T cells). These results suggest that hCG may be a link in the development of peritrophoblastic immune tolerance, and may facilitate the trophoblast invasion, which is known to expedite fetal development in the endometrium. It has also been suggested that hCG levels are linked to the severity of morning sickness or Hyperemesis gravidarum in pregnant women.
Because of its similarity to LH, hCG can also be used clinically to induce ovulation in the ovaries as well as testosterone production in the testes. As the most abundant biological source is in women who are presently pregnant, some organizations collect urine from pregnant women to extract hCG for use in fertility treatment.
Human chorionic gonadotropin also plays a role in cellular differentiation/proliferation and may activate apoptosis
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