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Life Sci. 1993;53(12):981-9.

Prolactin protection against lethal effects of Salmonella typhimurium.

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Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.


The immunoregulatory role of prolactin (PRL) has been well established. In order to clarify if the hormone is also able to stimulate a protective activity against pathogens-induced infections we have studied the modifications of the infective capacity of Salmonella typhimurium induced in mice by repeated treatments with ovine PRL. A significant dose-dependent reduction in the mortality rate was observed in comparison to controls. This activity is probably related to the observed increases in phagocytosis and intracellular killing of the peritoneal macrophages and chemotaxis of the peritoneal granulocytes induced by the hormonal treatment. On the contrary, the number of leukocytes in blood was not modified by PRL treatment excluding a mobilization of cells from other districts. Our findings confirm the existence of a linkage between the neuroendocrine and immune systems suggesting a possible role for PRL in the regulation of non-specific immune response.

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