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Endocrine. 2001 Oct;16(1):29-37.

Impact of acute and chronic ethanol exposure on prolactin in both male and female rats.

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Department of Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


The deleterious effects of ethanol (EtOH) on reproduction have been well documented. This disruption is usually associated with alterations in prolactin (PRL) levels, which is relevant since this hormone is an important participant in the reproductive system. Reported EtOH-induced changes in PRL (i.e., stimulation or inhibition) have varied. These differences may have been owing to the gender or age/sexual maturity of the animal and the mode of the administration of EtOH. Therefore, to clarify the impact of EtOH on PRL, a series of experiments were conducted utilizing rats of both genders, exposed to EtOH acutely or chronically, as adults and as they progressed through puberty. In general, in younger animals of both genders, EtOH depressed serum PRL whether given acutely or chronically. In adult males, acute EtOH actually stimulated PRL levels while chronic administration had no effect. In adult females, EtOH's effect was highly dependent on the stage of the estrous cycle in which EtOH was given and during which PRL was measured. In conclusion, our studies have shown that the PRL response to EtOH is dependent on the gender and age/sexual maturity of the animals as well as on the mode of administration.

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