Human chorionic gonadotrophin

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Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is a hormone released during pregnancy.  It plays a key role in pregnancy as it interacts with Leutenising Hormone (LH) receptors. This causes the corpus luteum to remain intact, and ensures the continued production of progesterone. This in turn keeps the endometrium from disintergrating.  HCG is released when an embryo is implanted into the uterus of a female by the placenta, and by structures called the chorionic villi [1].

Over the counter pregnancy tests work by detecting HCG in the urine. If a woman is pregnant then the HCG will bind to antibodies on the surface of the test, these then migrate up the test in turn interacting with further specific antibodies thus causing a positive result. 

References

  1. Silverthorn,(2010), Human Physiology An Integrated Approach:858, Fifth Edition, San Francisco,Pearson
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