Pregnant mare serum gonadotropin

Pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin (PMSG) is a unique member of the gonadotrophin family of hormones. It is synthesized only by pregnant mares (i.e. is not found in other species). Furthermore, it displays both FSH-like and LH-like biological activities.

This glycoprotein hormone is a heterodimer, composed of an a and a P subunit and approximately 45 per cent of its molecular mass is carbohydrate. Reported molecular masses range from 52 to 68 kDa, a reflection of the potential variability of the hormone's carbohydrate content.

PMSG is secreted by cup-shaped outgrowths found in the horn of the uterus of pregnant horses. These equine-specific endometrial cups are of foetal, rather than maternal, origin. They first become visible around day 40 of gestation, and reach maximum size at about day 70, after which they steadily regress. They synthesize high levels of PMSG and secrete it into the blood, where it is detectable between days 40 and 130 of gestation.

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