Prolactin as an Immunomodulatory Hormone

  • Eva Nagy
  • Istvan Berczi
Part of the Hans Selye Symposia on Neuroendocrinology and Stress book series (HSSN, volume 3)


The first experimental observation indicating the effect of prolactin (PRL) on the thymus was made by Smith in 1930. He observed that the thymus gland of hypophysectomized (Hypox) rats ceased to grow and regressed in weight to less than half of controls in long surviving animals. On the other hand, partially hypophysectomized rats showed an absolute weight loss no greater than the controls. These and other observations triggered many investigators to study the influence of hormones on lymphoid tissues. However, the lack of purified hormone preparations and proper assays at the time posed insurmountable difficulties which led to contradictions and confusion.1 Studies on the regulatory effect of the pituitary gland on bone marrow function have a similar history.2 During the past decade neuroendocrine immunoregulatory mechanisms have been investigated with increasing interest and the influence of PRL on lymphoid tissue and immune function has been reviewed in recent years.3–8


Growth Hormone Natural Killer Activity Prolactin Receptor Large Granular Lymphocyte Dwarf Mouse 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Nagy
    • 1
  • Istvan Berczi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Immunology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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