Question Video: Recalling the Pituitary Hormone that Stimulates Gamete Production in Males and Females Biology

The formation of gametes (ova and sperm) is stimulated by the same pituitary hormone in males and females. What is the name of this hormone?


Video Transcript

The formation of gametes, ova and sperm, is stimulated by the same pituitary hormone in males and females. What is the name of this hormone?

The pituitary gland, which is an endocrine gland located at the base of the brain, releases several different hormones, some of which are involved in the formation of gametes following puberty. As mentioned in the question, there are two types of gametes in humans: ova, which are otherwise known as egg cells, in biological females, and sperm cells in biological males.

The testes are the site of sperm production, a process that is often called spermatogenesis. Two pituitary hormones are essential to this process: luteinizing hormone, or LH, and follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH. At the onset of puberty, LH begins to be secreted in larger quantities from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland in the brain. The blood transports LH throughout the entire body, including to its target tissues in the testes of biological males. There, LH can bind to receptors on its target cells, which are called Leydig cells. This stimulates the Leydig cells to produce and secrete another hormone that is vital to spermatogenesis, testosterone.

Meanwhile, FSH is produced and secreted by the pituitary gland and travels via the blood to the testes. FSH has different target cells in the testes, Sertoli cells. Upon binding to receptors on the Sertoli cells, FSH stimulates spermatogenesis by inducing these Sertoli cells to produce testosterone receptors, which are sometimes called androgen-binding proteins. The androgen-binding proteins are presented on the surface of the Sertoli cells so that testosterone, which has been produced by the Leydig cells, can bind to them.

Together, FSH and testosterone regulate spermatogenesis by helping Sertoli cells to function properly, for example, by stimulating them to produce fluids that support sperm cell development. In biological females, FSH helps to control the menstrual cycle and stimulate the growth of the female gametes, ova, in the ovaries.

Now, we have enough information to answer this question correctly. The pituitary hormone that stimulates the formation of gametes in both males and females is follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH.

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