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Life Sci. 1996;59(8):599-614.

Endocrine, paracrine and autocrine actions of prolactin on immune cells.

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Institute of Internal Medicine, University of Turin, Italy.


The immune response is regulated by locally released factors, collectively referred to as cytokines. Data on the human immune system have convincingly demonstrated that the hormone prolactin (PRL), in addition to exerting its endocrine control on the immune system, acts as a cytokine in that it is released within the immune system and regulates the lymphocyte response by paracrine and autocrine mechanisms. Both lymphocyte and pituitary PRLs are under the control of immune factors. Synthesis of human PRL by lymphocytes is induced by T-cell stimuli, while increased release of PRL by the pituitary, observed in vivo after immune challenge, may be mediated by cytokines produced by monocyte-macrophages. Since hyperprolactinemia and hypoprolactinemia are both immunosuppressive, physiological levels of circulating PRL must be necessary to maintain basal immunocompetence. The effects of Cyclosporin (CsA) on IL-2 and PRL gene activation and the analysis of the intracellular signaling events downstream IL-2 and PRL receptors suggest coordinate actions of these two cytokines during T cell activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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