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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981 Apr;52(4):678-83.

Oxytocin release and plasma anterior pituitary and gonadal hormones in women during lactation.


Serial plasma oxytocin (OT), PRL, TSH, FSH, LH, estrone, estradiol, and progesterone were measured by RIA in 12 women before and during a 30-min breast-feeding period on the third or fifth postpartum day. Plasma OT increased significantly from 10.8 +/- 3.4 to 22.4 +/- 3.5 pg/ml (mean +/- SE) within 2 min of suckling (P = less than 0.05) to reach the mean peak level of 53.2 pg/ml at 10 min. The increase in plasma OT was bimodal. Plasma PRL and TSH also increased significantly from baseline levels of 192 +/- 39 ng/ml and 16.9 +/- 5.6 microU/ml, respectively, to reach maximum levels of 427 +/- 91 ng PRL/ml at 10 min (P = less than 0.025) and 281.5 +/- 56.6 microU TSH/ml at 25 min (P = less than 0.005). Plasma FSH-beta (range of means, 3.5-4.6 ng/ml), LH (range of means, 1.7-2.6 mIU/ml), and estradiol (range of means, 29.8-38.2 pg/ml) were low and remained unchanged throughout breast feeding. Plasma progesterone was 6.0 +/- 0.4 ng/ml before breast feeding and did not alter significantly during breast feeding. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to the milk let-down reflex and the relationship of TSH to PRL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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