Prolactin: a versatile regulator of inflammation and autoimmune pathology

Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Mar;14(3):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Nov 14.


Prolactin (PRL) has long been proposed as an immune-stimulating and detrimental factor in autoimmune disorders. However, recent findings have challenged this common view, showing that PRL does not play a crucial role in the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, animal model for multiple sclerosis (MS), and even protects against adjuvant-induced model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this review we provide a critical overview of data supporting a role for PRL in the regulation of immune responses. In addition, we focus on studies exploring the involvement of PRL in autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, MS and RA, in light of the recently-outlined regenerative properties of this hormone.

Keywords: Inflammation; Multiple sclerosis; Prolactin; Rheumatoid arthritis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Tissue repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Prolactin / immunology*


  • Prolactin