The effects of prolactin on rat ovarian function

Abraham K. Munabi, Veronica Mericq, Michele C.S. Koppelman, Marie C. Gelato, Abe M. Macher, Barry D. Albertson, D. Lynn Loriaux, Fernando Cassorla.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Hyperprolactinemia has been associated with several reproductive disorders. To investigate whether hyperprolactinemia directly affects rat ovarian function, we examined the ovarian histopathology and the activities of the four ovarian enzymes 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), 17-hydroxylase (17-OH), 17,20-desmolase (17,20-D) and aromatase in hyperprolactinemic rats and controls. Hypophysectomized, gonadotropin-treated Fisher rats were made hyperprolactinemic by isografting pituitary glands under the kidney capsule. The control animals received skeletal muscle. The ovaries were resected, pooled according to prolactin levels and microsomal enzyme activities were measured from each pool. Prolactin (PRL) levels were 344 ± 23 ng/ml in the hyperprolactinemic rats and 18 ± 5 ng/ml in the controls (p<0.001). Estradiol concentrations were 609±47 pg/ml in the hyperprolactinemic animals and 56 ± 13 pg/ml in the controls (p<0.001). Ovarian and uterine weights were significantly higher in the hyperprolactinemic rats (p<0.02). Ovarian histopathology demonstrated benign polycystic transformation in the hyperprolactinemic animals. Hyperprolactinemia had no effect on 3β-HSD, but was associated with significant decreases in the 17-OH, 17,20-D and aromatase activities when compared to controls (p<0.001). We conclude that prolactin has a direct effect on rat ovarian function which appears to be independent of changes in gonadotropin secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-637
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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