Regulatory peptides

Prolactin is a potential physiological modulator of swine ovarian follicle function.

PMID 24530842


Apart from the well established role of prolactin (PRL) in the control of mammary development and lactation, this hormone appears to possess a variety of physiological functions and evidence exists about its expression in many extra-pituitary sites. This experimental work was undertaken to gain knowledge about PRL and its receptor presence in the porcine antral follicle. In particular, we investigated the expression and local production of PRL in follicular fluid, theca and granulosa cells cultured in standard conditions and in hypoxia. Then, we also investigated its modulatory effect on several parameters mainly involved in granulosa cell function, namely redox status and steroidogenesis. In order to verify an involvement of PRL in the control of ovarian angiogenesis, a process strictly linked to follicle growth and development, we have verified possible PRL effects on granulosa cell production of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and nitric oxide as well as its modulatory role on the angiogenic activity of endothelial cells. Our data demonstrate that in the swine PRL is expressed in both components of the antral follicle, theca and granulosa layers, and it is produced by granulosa cells. Moreover, the hormone represents a relevant modulatory factor on key processes underlying follicular growth and development, such as steroidogenesis and angiogenesis.