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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Apr;17(3):110-6. Epub 2006 Mar 6.

Focus on prolactin as a metabolic hormone.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati Medical School, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0521, USA.


New information about the effects of prolactin (PRL) on metabolic processes warrants re-evaluation of the overall metabolic actions of PRL. PRL affects metabolic homeostasis by regulating key enzymes and transporters that are associated with glucose and lipid metabolism in several target organs. In the lactating mammary gland, PRL increases the production of milk proteins, lactose and lipids. In adipose tissue, PRL generally suppresses lipid storage and adipokine release. PRL supports the growth of pancreatic islets, stimulates insulin secretion and increases citrate production in the prostate. A specific case is made for PRL in the human breast and adipose tissue, where it acts as a circulating hormone and an autocrine or paracrine factor. Although the overall effects of PRL on body composition are modest and species specific, PRL might be involved in the manifestation of insulin resistance.

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