Prolactin 

Updated: Dec 11, 2015
  • Author: Anas K Gremida, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M Wheeler, MD  more...
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Reference Range

The reference range for prolactin in females is as follows:

  • Nongravid/nonlactating: 2-29 ng/mL

  • Gravid: 10-209 ng/mL (third trimester)

The reference range for prolactin in males is 2-18 ng/mL.

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Interpretation

Hyperprolactinemia is associated primarily with prolactin-secreting pituitary tumors (prolactinoma).

Conditions associated with prolactin deficiency include anterior pituitary dysfunction secondary to the following:

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Collection and Panels

Specifics for collection and panels are as follows:

  • Specimen type: Blood serum

  • Container: Vacutainer, red/black top

  • Collection method: Venipuncture

  • Specimen volume: 0.6 mL

  • Other instructions: Collect specimen within 3-4 hours of awakening

Related tests are as follows:

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

  • Testosterone

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

  • Estrogen

  • Progesterone

  • Growth hormone

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Background

Description

Prolactin is pituitary hormone that stimulates breast development and milk production in women. Prolactin has no known normal function in men. [1, 2, 3, 4]

An image depicting prolactin can be seen below.

Prolactin structure. Prolactin structure.

Indications/Applications

Indications for testing of serum prolactin include the following:

  • Evaluation of galactorrhea

  • Evaluation of headache and visual field deficits

  • Evaluation of pituitary tumors

  • Evaluation of male and female infertility

  • Evaluation of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea

  • Evaluation of erectile dysfunction

  • Evaluation of hypogonadism

  • Monitoring therapy of prolactinoma and detecting recurrences

Considerations

Hyperprolactinemia may also be associated with the following:

Hyperprolactinemia may also be associated with the following drugs:

  • Estrogen

  • Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Opiates

  • Amphetamines

  • Reserpine

  • Verapamil

  • Methyldopa

  • Butyrophenones

  • H2 blockers

  • Metoclopramide

  • Phenothiazines

  • Risperidone

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