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Prolactin secretory rhythm in women: immediate and long-term alterations after sexual contact


Kruger, T H C; Leeners, B; Naegeli, E; Schmidlin, S; Schedlowski, M; Hartmann, U; Egli, M (2012). Prolactin secretory rhythm in women: immediate and long-term alterations after sexual contact. Human Reproduction, 27(4):1139-1143.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prolactin (PRL) is one of the most versatile hormones in the mammalian body, affecting reproductive, sexual and other functions. In rats, mating or vaginocervical stimulation activates a characteristic PRL secretory pattern for several days, which is essential for successful reproduction. Although the underlying mechanisms appear to be different, PRL is also crucial for human fertility. We have detected a PRL increase in women induced by sexual intercourse. Extending these findings, the current study aimed at analyzing the PRL secretory rhythm after sexual contact, in order to elucidate whether human females also show long-term alterations of the PRL secretory pattern.
METHODS: In a pilot study, serial blood samples were taken from women (n= 7) in mid-cycle to assess changes in PRL secretory rhythm induced by sexual intercourse, during a period of 32 h.
RESULTS: Compared with control condition, sexual intercourse with orgasm induced not only the well-established immediate PRL increase of ~300% but also an additional PRL elevation around noon of the next day (P< 0.05). These fluctuations were measured on top of the regular circadian rhythm of PRL, manifested as a surge early in the morning.
CONCLUSIONS: We are able to demonstrate a long-term change in the PRL secretory rhythm after sexual intercourse with orgasm in females, suggesting memory effects. We hypothesize that the additionally secreted PRL could be beneficial for decidualization and implantation. Further studies with more participants are required to investigate in detail the implications of such effects on reproductive success in humans.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prolactin (PRL) is one of the most versatile hormones in the mammalian body, affecting reproductive, sexual and other functions. In rats, mating or vaginocervical stimulation activates a characteristic PRL secretory pattern for several days, which is essential for successful reproduction. Although the underlying mechanisms appear to be different, PRL is also crucial for human fertility. We have detected a PRL increase in women induced by sexual intercourse. Extending these findings, the current study aimed at analyzing the PRL secretory rhythm after sexual contact, in order to elucidate whether human females also show long-term alterations of the PRL secretory pattern.
METHODS: In a pilot study, serial blood samples were taken from women (n= 7) in mid-cycle to assess changes in PRL secretory rhythm induced by sexual intercourse, during a period of 32 h.
RESULTS: Compared with control condition, sexual intercourse with orgasm induced not only the well-established immediate PRL increase of ~300% but also an additional PRL elevation around noon of the next day (P< 0.05). These fluctuations were measured on top of the regular circadian rhythm of PRL, manifested as a surge early in the morning.
CONCLUSIONS: We are able to demonstrate a long-term change in the PRL secretory rhythm after sexual intercourse with orgasm in females, suggesting memory effects. We hypothesize that the additionally secreted PRL could be beneficial for decidualization and implantation. Further studies with more participants are required to investigate in detail the implications of such effects on reproductive success in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:07 Feb 2013 09:56
Last Modified:07 Aug 2018 15:11
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0268-1161
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/des003
PubMed ID:22333984

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