Prolactin may be increased in newly diagnosed celiac children and adolescents and decreases after 6 months of gluten-free diet

Horm Res Paediatr. 2014;81(5):309-13. doi: 10.1159/000357064. Epub 2014 Mar 5.


Background/aims: Prolactin (PRL) is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. It exerts its role on the breast gland but also plays a modulatory role in autoimmune mechanisms. Celiac disease (CD) is a gluten-sensitive autoimmune enteropathy sometimes associated with autoimmune endocrinopathies. No data on PRL levels in CD patients are available at diagnosis, and no conclusive data are reported.

Methods: We aimed to evaluate PRL secretion in newly diagnosed CD pediatric patients and, in the case of hyperprolactinemia, any changes in its levels while the patients were on a gluten-free diet (GFD). We recruited 67 patients and 39 healthy controls.

Results: PRL was statistically higher in the CD patients (13.5±9.2 ng/ml) than in the controls (8.5±5.0 ng/ml). In the CD group, PRL was inversely correlated with the age at diagnosis (r=-0.326; p=0.007). In patients with hyperprolactinemia at diagnosis, PRL decreased after 6 months of GFD.

Conclusion: This paper confirms that PRL may be increased at diagnosis of CD and shows, for the first time, that it decreases after a short course of GFD. Changes in the levels of inflammatory cytokines in CD may account for changes in PRL levels. Younger patients seem more prone to develop hyperprolactinemia than older ones.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Celiac Disease / blood*
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / blood
  • Hyperprolactinemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Time Factors


  • Cytokines
  • Prolactin