Prolactin PRL

The secretion of PRL, unlike that of other pituitary hormones, is under tonic inhibition by hypothalamic dopamine. THR, VIP, and PRL-releasing peptide are potent stimulatory peptides (Hinuma et al. 1998; Thorner, Vance, Laws, Horvath, and Kovacs 1998). In addition, estrogens are strong stimulators of pituitary PRL secretion (Day, Koike, Sakai, and Maurer 1990). Besides, steroid hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, from the placenta, frequently modulate the effects of PRL. However, interactions between PRL and steroids are highly dependent of cell type and hormonal milieu. PRL and glucocorticoids appear to have a synergistic antiapoptotic effect in differentiated mammary gland. In addition, interactions have been described with polypeptide growth factors such as EGF, IGF-1, and insulin.

At the cellular level, PRL regulates the growth, survival, differentiation, and activation state of target cells. At the physiological level, the effects of PRL may be divided into seven partially overlapping areas: (1) reproduction, (2) immune function, (3) water/electrolyte balance (osmoregulation), (4) stress adaptation, (5) behavior/brain/psychology, (6) metabolism, and (7) skin function.

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