Localization of luteinizing hormone receptor protein in the human ovary

Y. Yung*, S. Aviel-Ronen, E. Maman, N. Rubinstein, C. Avivi, R. Orvieto, A. Hourvitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) plays a pivotal role during follicular development. Consequently, its expression pattern is of major importance for research and has clinical implications. Despite the accumulated information regarding LHR expression patterns, our understanding of its expression in the human ovary, specifically at the protein level, is incomplete. Therefore, our aim was to determine the LHR protein localization and expression pattern in the human ovary. We examined the presence of LHR by immunohistochemical staining of human ovaries and western blots of mural granulosa and cumulus cells aspirated during IVF treatments. We were not able to detect LHR protein staining in primordial or primary follicles. We observed equivocal positive staining in granulosa cells and theca cells of secondary follicles. The first appearance of a clear signal of LHR protein was observed in granulosa cells and theca cells of small antral follicles, and there was evidence of increasing LHR production as the follicles mature to the pre-ovulatory stage. After ovulation, LHR protein was ubiquitously produced in the corpus luteum. To confirm the expression pattern in granulosa cells and cumulus cells, we performed western blots and found that LHR expression was stronger in granulosa cells than in cumulus cells, with the later demonstrating low, but still significant, amounts of LHR protein. In summary, we conclude that LHR protein starts to appear on granulosa cells and theca cells of early antral follicles, and low but significant expression of LHR exists also in the cumulus cells. These results may have implications for the future design of clinical protocols and culture mediums for in vitro fertilization and especially in vitro maturation of oocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergau041
Pages (from-to)844-849
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Cumulus cells
  • LH surge
  • Luteinizing hormone receptor
  • Mural granulosa cells
  • Ovary


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