Prolactin suppresses release of luteinising hormone during lactation in the monkey


STUDIES with rats have shown that during lactation there is an inhibition of luteinising hormone (LH)-dependent physiological events, such as implantation1, and a return to oestrus cyclicity2. This inhibition has been shown to occur only during the intense suckling phase and it has been correlated with the high levels of prolactin present in the circulation at this time. Although exogenous prolactin could substitute for the effects of intense suckling, it could do so only under the permissive influence of minimal suckling stimulus. We have shown that there is, in these conditions, a lowering of LH levels, and that this is due to interference by prolactin with the pituitary responsiveness to LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) (K. Muralidhar, R. M. and N. R. M., unpublished). Using the lactating monkey, we have now demonstrated a similar inhibitory effect of prolactin on pituitary responsiveness to LHRH, suggesting a mechanism by which amenorrhoeic conditions are maintained during lactation.

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