Evidence for the role of gonadotropin hormones in the development of Alzheimer disease

G. Casadesus, C. S. Atwood, X. Zhu, A. W. Hartzler, K. M. Webber, G. Perry, R. L. Bowen, M. A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Differences in the prevalence and age of onset of Alzheimer disease (AD) in men and women, and observations that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may prevent the development of AD, caused many to hypothesize that estrogen deficiency contributes to AD. However, recent trials using estrogen failed to show any benefit in preventing or alleviating the disease. To address this and other inconsistencies in the estrogen hypothesis, we suspect that another hormone of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, luteinizing hormone (LH), as a major factor in AD pathogenesis. Individuals with AD have elevated levels of LH when compared with controls, and both LH and its receptor are present in increased quantities in brain regions susceptible to degeneration in AD. LH is also known to be mitogenic, and could therefore initiate the cell cycle abnormalities known to be present in AD-affected neurons. In cell culture, LH increases amyloidogenic processing of amyloid-β protein precursor, and in animal models of AD, pharmacologic suppression of LH and FSH reduces plaque formation. Given the evidence supporting a pathogenic role for LH in AD, a trial of leuprolide acetate, which suppresses LH release, has been initiated in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Leuprolide acetate
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for the role of gonadotropin hormones in the development of Alzheimer disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this