Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) - plasma

Last updated: Thursday, 15, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in lithium heparin tube.

MethodImmunoassay.
Reference Interval

Method dependent, and related to menstrual cycle in females.

Female: 1.0-8.0 U/L
Post-menopausal female: >18.0 U/L

Adult male: 1.0-5.0 U/L (age related).

ApplicationInvestigation of gonadal hypofunction, suspected pituitary tumour.
Interpretation

Levels are increased when pituitary secretion occurs in the absence of feedback inhibition by gonadal androgens or oestrogens (primary gonadal hypofunction, post-menopausal state, castration).

Increased levels may also be seen with pituitary gonadotroph tumours, although some tumours secrete only the α subunit.

Levels are decreased if ovarian or testicular failure is due to pituitary or hypothalamic disease.

Reference

Thorner MO et al and Carr BR. In: Wilson JD and Foster DW eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 8th ed. WB Saunders 1992.