High prolactin may protect against type 2 diabetes


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research published in Diabetologia suggests that higher circulating total prolactin concentrations in women are inversely associated with incident type 2 diabetes (T2D). 

Researchers analysed data on 8,615 women from the US Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the NHS II to examine the prospective relationship between circulating prolactin concentrations and T2D risk. 

Across a follow-up period of up to 22 years, 699 cases of T2D were documented. The authors observed an inverse association between total circulating prolactin levels and T2D risk. Women in the top quartile of prolactin levels were 27 per cent less likely to develop T2D than those in the lowest quartile (HR 0.73; 95% CI 0.55-0.95; Ptrend=.02). The authors said the association did not differ by menopausal status, but appeared time-varying, with stronger associations observed within the first 9-10 years of follow-up after blood draw. 

"Our epidemiological observations, coupled with previous population data and emerging experimental evidence, support a potential protective role of prolactin within the biologically normal range in the development of type 2 diabetes risk in women,” the authors said. They added that more research is needed to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the association, which may lead to the development of new strategies for early prevention and treatment of T2D.