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Endocrinology. 2010 Jul;151(7):2974-84. doi: 10.1210/en.2010-0033. Epub 2010 May 12.

Evidence for a role of prolactin in calcium homeostasis: regulation of intestinal transient receptor potential vanilloid type 6, intestinal calcium absorption, and the 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) 1alpha hydroxylase gene by prolactin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.


Increased calcium transport has been observed in vitamin D-deficient pregnant and lactating rats, indicating that another factor besides 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) is involved in intestinal calcium transport. To investigate prolactin as a hormone involved in calcium homeostasis, vitamin D-deficient male mice were injected with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), prolactin, or prolactin + 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). Prolactin alone (1 microg/g body weight 48, 24, and 4 h before termination) significantly induced duodenal transient receptor potential vanilloid type 6 (TRPV6) mRNA (4-fold) but caused no change in calbindin-D(9k). Combined treatment with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) and prolactin resulted in an enhancement of the 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) induction of duodenal TRPV6 mRNA, calbindin-D(9k) mRNA, and an induction of duodenal calcium transport [P < 0.05 compared with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) alone]. Because lactation is associated with an increase in circulating 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), experiments were done to determine whether prolactin also has a direct effect on induction of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) 1alpha hydroxylase [1alpha(OH)ase]. Using AOK B-50 cells cotransfected with the prolactin receptor and the mouse 1alpha(OH)ase promoter -1651/+22 cooperative effects between prolactin and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 were observed in the regulation of 1alpha(OH)ase. In addition, in prolactin receptor transfected AOK B-50 cells, prolactin treatment (400 ng/ml) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 significantly induced 1alpha(OH)ase protein as determined by Western blot analysis. Thus, prolactin, by multiple mechanisms, including regulation of vitamin D metabolism, induction of TRPV6 mRNA, and cooperation with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) in induction of intestinal calcium transport genes and intestinal calcium transport, can act as an important modulator of vitamin D-regulated calcium homeostasis.

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