2. University College London.
Sex hormones have been studied for more than a century. They affect almost all body systems and functions. FSH assists in converting androgens to estrogens; regulates bone mass, functioning of adipose tissue, energy metabolism, cholesterol synthesis; also, it has an impact on hepatocytes and tumor blood vessels. Estrogens are a family of hormones that consists of estrone, estradiol and estriol. The first two are biologically active estrogens in non-pregnant individuals, while the third one is produced in significant amounts during pregnancy. In non-pregnant females, estradiol circulates at higher concentrations, and it is more biologically active than estrone. Estrogens and progesterone spread their influence on the reproductive system, breasts, skin, adipose tissue, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular systems and brain functioning. Their levels fluctuate within lifespan, allowing clinicians and researchers to test them, monitor and predict different physiological events, conditions and disorders.
Radioimmunoassays, enzyme immunoassays, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and mass spectrometry are commonly used methods for measuring parent hormones and their metabolites. Serum samples provide a more accurate picture, while saliva and urine are more convenient, as they are painless and can be easily collected by patients and analyzed at home. There is great utilization of hormonal testing in clinical practice, and at the same time a big potential in monitoring hormone levels for disease diagnosis and prognosis, pregnancy outcomes predictions in assisted reproduction, building and using algorithms for labor predictions, first signs of transitions to menopause that could be useful for fertility preservation.
Keywords: Estrogens, progesterone, FSH, reproductive hormones, estrogen metabolites, menstrual cycle, estrone glucuronide, pregnanediol glucuronide, aging, menopause transition