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Cytokine. 2003 Feb 21;21(4):187-94.

Prolactin enhances production of interferon-gamma, interleukin-12, and interleukin-10, but not of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, in a stimulus-specific manner.

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Medical Technology, University of Petra, P.O. Box 961343, Amman 11196, Jordan.


Prolactin, an anterior pituitary hormone, has been shown to have a role in immunomodulation. Some reports have shown the importance of prolactin in activating lymphocytes and macrophages, while in hyperprolactinemia patients, prolactin was found to decrease lymphocyte activation and natural killer function. In the present work, at physiological (15ng/ml) and stress-induced levels (30ng/ml) of prolactin, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin (IL)-12 p70 levels, but not of IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), increased significantly (p<0.05-0.006) in phytohemeagglutinin (PHA)+lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated whole blood. However, no such effect was observed at high concentrations of prolactin (100-300ng/ml). In addition, 15ng/ml of prolactin reversed hydrocortisone suppressive effect on IFN-gamma, IL-12 p70, and IL-10 production in PHA+LPS-stimulated whole blood. On the other hand, in LPS-stimulated whole blood, prolactin enhanced significantly (p=0.027) the production levels of IL-10, but not of IFN-gamma, IL-12 p70, and TNF-alpha, in non-concentration-dependent manner. These results suggest that prolactin modulates cytokine response during antigenic response, and this modulation is stimulus specific.

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