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Luteinizing Hormone 

  • Author: Edward Charbek, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M Wheeler, MD  more...
Updated: Jul 27, 2015

Reference Range

The reference range for luteinizing hormone (LH) is as follows:


Prepubertal: 0.3-6.0 mIU/mL

Adult: 1.8-12.0 mIU/L


Prepubertal: 0-4.0 mIU/mL

Pubertal: 0.3-31.0 mIU/mL


  • Follicular: 1-18 mIU/dL
  • Mid-cycle: 20-105 mIU/mL
  • Luteal: 0.4-20.0 mIU/mL

Postmenopausal: 15.0-62.0 mIU/mL



Conditions associated with increased LH

See the list below:

Conditions associated with decreased LH

Hypothalamic causes are as follows:

Pituitary causes are as follows:

Luteal phase dysfunction is another condition associated with decreased LH.


Collection and Panels

Specifics for collection and panels are as follows:

  • Specimen type: Blood serum
  • Container: Vacutainer, red/black top
  • Collection method: Venipuncture
  • Specimen volume: 0.6 mL

Related tests are as follows:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Total estrogens
  • Estradiol
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone



Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a glycoprotein gonadotropin secreted by the anterior pituitary in response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is released by the hypothalamus. The same pituitary cells also secrete FSH, another gonadotropin.[2]

LH and FSH are composed of alpha and beta subunits. The alpha subunit is similar in LH, FSH, TSH, and HCG, while the beta subunits differs among the hormones. The specific beta subunit confers the unique biologic activity. LH and FSH bind to receptors in the testis and ovary and regulate gonadal function by promoting sex steroid production and gametogenesis.[3] Both are essential for reproduction in males and females.

LH and FSH play central roles in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, and, thus, conditions related to LH and FSH deficiency can be caused by pathology of either the hypothalamus or pituitary. The two are frequently measured together, along with other hormones. Careful analysis of the presenting problem, the patient’s overall health, and the hormonal profile is often necessary to determine the cause of LH abnormality and, thus, the most appropriate treatment.[4, 5, 6, 7]


Indications for testing of LH include the following:

  • Evaluating menstrual irregularities (including anovulatory bleeding)
  • Evaluating suspected hypogonadism
  • Evaluating precocious puberty
  • Predicting ovulation
  • Evaluating infertility
  • Evaluating pituitary disorders
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Edward Charbek, MD Fellow in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, St Louis University Hospital

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Thomas M Wheeler, MD Chairman, Department of Pathology and Immunology, WL Moody, Jr, Professor of Pathology, Professor of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine

Thomas M Wheeler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for Cancer Research, American Medical Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Cytopathology, American Thyroid Association, American Urological Association, College of American Pathologists, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, International Society of Urological Pathology, Harris County Medical Society

Disclosure: Received stock from PathXL for medical advisory board. for: PathXL, Inc.

  1. Massanyi EZ, Dicarlo HN, Migeon CJ, Gearhart JP. Review and management of 46,XY disorders of sex development. J Pediatr Urol. 2013 Jun. 9 (3):368-79. [Medline].

  2. Perrett RM, McArdle CA. Molecular Mechanisms of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Signaling: Integrating Cyclic Nucleotides into the Network. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2013 Nov 20. 4:180. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  3. Dahan MH, Agdi M, Shehata F, Son W, Tan SL. A comparison of outcomes from in vitro fertilization cycles stimulated with either recombinant luteinizing hormone (LH) or human chorionic gonadotropin acting as an LH analogue delivered as human menopausal gonadotropins, in subjects with good or poor ovarian reserve: A retrospective analysis. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2014 Jan. 172:70-3. [Medline].

  4. Barker NM. Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency. Medscape Reference. 8/31/2010. [Full Text].

  5. Burris CA, Ashwood ER, Burns DE. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders; 2006.

  6. McPherson RA, Matthew R. Pincus MR. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2011.

  7. Wallach J. Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests. 6th ed. New York: Little, Brown; 1996.

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