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Prolactin secretion patterns: basic mechanisms and clinical implications for reproduction


Egli, M; Leeners, B; Kruger, T H (2010). Prolactin secretion patterns: basic mechanisms and clinical implications for reproduction. Reproduction, 140(5):643-654.

Abstract

Prolactin (PRL) is one of the most versatile hormones in the mammalian body affecting reproductive, sexual, metabolic, immune, and other functions. It is therefore not surprising that the neural control of PRL secretion is complex, involving the coordinated actions of several hypothalamic nuclei. A plethora of experimental data exists on the hypothalamic control of hormone secretion under various physiological stimuli. There have been even mathematical models and computer studies published, which help to understand the complex hypothalamic-pituitary network. Nevertheless, the putative role of PRL for human reproduction still has to be clarified. Here, we review data on the underlying mechanisms controlling PRL secretion using both experimental and mathematical approaches. These investigations primarily focus on rhythmic secretion in rats during early pregnancy or pseudopregnancy, and they point to the important role of oxytocin as a crucial PRL-releasing factor. Recent data on human studies and their theoretical and clinical implications are reviewed as well. In particular, studies demonstrating a sustained PRL surge after sexual climax in males and females are presented, indicating possible implications for both sexual satiation and reproductive functions. Taking these data together, there is evidence for the hypothesis that the PRL surge induced by sexual activity, together with the altered PRL rhythmic pattern, is important for successful initialization of pregnancy not only in rodents but also possibly in humans. However, further investigations are needed to clarify such a role in humans.

Abstract

Prolactin (PRL) is one of the most versatile hormones in the mammalian body affecting reproductive, sexual, metabolic, immune, and other functions. It is therefore not surprising that the neural control of PRL secretion is complex, involving the coordinated actions of several hypothalamic nuclei. A plethora of experimental data exists on the hypothalamic control of hormone secretion under various physiological stimuli. There have been even mathematical models and computer studies published, which help to understand the complex hypothalamic-pituitary network. Nevertheless, the putative role of PRL for human reproduction still has to be clarified. Here, we review data on the underlying mechanisms controlling PRL secretion using both experimental and mathematical approaches. These investigations primarily focus on rhythmic secretion in rats during early pregnancy or pseudopregnancy, and they point to the important role of oxytocin as a crucial PRL-releasing factor. Recent data on human studies and their theoretical and clinical implications are reviewed as well. In particular, studies demonstrating a sustained PRL surge after sexual climax in males and females are presented, indicating possible implications for both sexual satiation and reproductive functions. Taking these data together, there is evidence for the hypothesis that the PRL surge induced by sexual activity, together with the altered PRL rhythmic pattern, is important for successful initialization of pregnancy not only in rodents but also possibly in humans. However, further investigations are needed to clarify such a role in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:August 2010
Deposited On:08 Feb 2011 10:11
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 06:48
Publisher:Society for Reproduction and Fertility
ISSN:1470-1626
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1530/REP-10-0033
PubMed ID:20733016

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