Prolactin stimulates food intake in a dose-dependent manner

T. Gerardo-Gettens, B. J. Moore, J. S. Stern, Barbara A Horwitz

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103 Scopus citations


Lactation in the rat is marked by pronounced hyperphagia and suppression of brown fat (BAT) thermogenic capacity. We previously examined the possibility that elevated prolactin levels mediate these changes. The present study evaluated the effect of varying prolactin levels on food intake, BAT mitochondrial GDP binding, and carcass adiposity. Female rats were injected daily for 10 days with ovine prolactin at one of three doses: high = 3.0, medium = 1.0 or low = 0.3 μg/g body wt. Controls were injected with 0.9% NaCl. A group of uninjected rats served as an additional control. Cumulative food intake was significantly elevated in a dose-dependent manner in the prolactin-treated animals relative to the saline-injected and uninjected controls. Compared with the saline controls, the mean cumulative food intake was greatest at the high dose (20% increase), intermediate at the medium dose (17%), and smallest at the low dose (12%). Prolactin-treated rats gained significantly more weight during the experiment than did controls. Despite the hyperphagia in the prolactin-treated rats, no significant differences in BAT mitochondrial GDP binding were observed among the five groups. These data indicate that elevated prolactin levels stimulate food intake in a dose-dependent manner and that this hyperphagia is not accompanied by an increase in BAT mitochondrial GDP binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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