Elevated gonadotropin levels in patients with Alzheimer disease

Rodney A. Short, Peter C. O’brien, Neill R. Graff-Radford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether gonadotropin levels are elevated in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). Patients and Methods: We measured luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels from stored plasma samples from 284 patients seen at a tertiary care center. We also reviewed their medical charts to record age and estrogen use in the women. The primary aim of our study was to determine whether gonadotropin levels were elevated in 134 patients with AD compared with levels from 45 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and 105 cognitively normal controls. Results: Although overlap between LH and FSH levels was considerable, LH (P=.046) and FSH (P=.007) were significantly elevated in estrogen-free women with AD (LH: median, 26.3 IU/L; interquartile range, 14.9-34.6 IU/L; FSH: median, 62.0 IU/L; interquartile range, 45.9-78.5 IU/L) compared with normal controls (LH: median, 20.1 IU/L; interquartile range, 13.7-25.3 IU/L; FSH: median, 47.7 IU/L; interquartile range, 34.1-57.5 IU/L). Levels of LH were also significantly higher (P=.03) in estrogen-free women with AD compared with women with FTD (LH: median, 20.7 IU/L; interquartile range, 19.0-28.5 IU/L; FSH: median, 53.3 IU/L; interquartile range, 27.6-77.9 IU/L). When we controlled for age, no differences in LH and FSH were observed in men with AD compared with normal controls. Conclusions: Gonadotropin levels are elevated in some patients with AD, ie, women not taking estrogen. Elevated gonadotropin levels may have a role in the production of amyloid-β protein, which is related to formation of senile plaques. Therefore, elevated gonadotropin levels may be involved in the pathogenesis of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number62109
Pages (from-to)906-909
Number of pages4
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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