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Hyperprolactinemia (Excess Prolactin Hormone)

Prolactin Structure. Courtesy Boris TM at Wikipedia.

Prolactin Structure. Courtesy Boris TM at Wikipedia.

What Is Hyperprolactinemia?

Hyperprolactinemia is an excess secretion of prolactin hormone causing an elevated blood level that is characterized by its effects on reproduction: in females causing  amenorrhea and in males causing reduced sexual potency.

Q: What is prolactin?

A: Prolactin is a hormone produced by the the anterior pituitary gland that is transported by the bloodstream to stimulate androgen hormone production in male and estrogen hormone production in female sex glands. However, too much prolactin inhibits hormone production of estrogen in women and testosterone in men.

In pregnant females upon delivery of a baby, prolactin stimulates breast development and milk production for the purpose of feeding the infant. Sucking by the infant stimulates the release of prolactin which keeps the milk supply adequate.

Prolactin also promotes autoimmune mechanisms. Prolactin interferes specifically with B cell tolerance induction, enhances proliferative response to antigens and mitogens and increases the production of immune globulins, cytokines and autoantibodies.1

Other conditions that can stimulate prolactin release include nutritional deficiencies, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the pituitary gland, stress, exercise, and anterior pituitary tumors.

What Is An Elevated Prolactin Level In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Shelly S, Boaz M, Orbach H. Prolactin and autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2012 May;11(6-7):A465-70. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.009. 

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